Transgenerational Effects of Childhood Conditions on Third Generation Health and Education Outcomes

49 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2014

See all articles by Gerard J. van den Berg

Gerard J. van den Berg

VU University Amsterdam - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Tinbergen Institute

Pia R. Pinger

University of Bonn

Date Written: November 2014

Abstract

This paper examines the extent to which pre-puberty nutritional conditions in one generation affect productivity-related outcomes in later generations. Recent findings from the biological literature suggest that age 8-12 is a critical period for male germ cell development. We build on this evidence and investigate whether undernutrition at that age biologically transmits to children and grandchildren. Our findings indicate that third generation males (females) tend to have higher mental health scores if their paternal grandfather (maternal grandmother) was exposed to a famine during preadolescence. These effects seem to result from a biological shock and are not driven by social processes.

Keywords: famine, transgenerational transmission, epigenetics, mental health, education, long-run effects, nutrition, intergenerational effects, slow-growth period

JEL Classification: I12, J11

Suggested Citation

van den Berg, Gerard J. and Pinger, Pia R., Transgenerational Effects of Childhood Conditions on Third Generation Health and Education Outcomes (November 2014). SOEPpaper No. 709. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2539013 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2539013

Gerard J. Van den Berg (Contact Author)

VU University Amsterdam - Department of Economics ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Tinbergen Institute

Burg. Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, 3062 PA
Netherlands

Pia R. Pinger

University of Bonn ( email )

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