Individual Behaviour as a Pathway between Early‐Life Shocks and Adult Health: Evidence from Hunger Episodes in Post‐War Germany

22 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2015

See all articles by Iris Kesternich

Iris Kesternich

KU Leuven - Department of Economics; Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) - Faculty of Economics

Bettina Siflinger

University of Mannheim - Department of Economics

James P. Smith

RAND Corporation; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Joachim K. Winter

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA); Deutsche Bundesbank - Research Department

Date Written: November 2015

Abstract

We investigate long‐run effects of hunger episodes experienced during childhood on health status and behavioural outcomes in later life. We combine self‐reported data on hunger experiences from SHARELIFE with administrative data on food supply (caloric rations) in post‐war Germany. The data suggest that individual behaviour is a pathway between early life‐shocks and adult health. We find that lower‐income adults who experienced hunger spend a larger fraction of income on food. Taken together, our results confirm that in addition to the well‐documented biological channel from early life circumstances to adult health, there are also behavioural pathways.

Suggested Citation

Kesternich, Iris and Siflinger, Bettina and Smith, James P. and Winter, Joachim K., Individual Behaviour as a Pathway between Early‐Life Shocks and Adult Health: Evidence from Hunger Episodes in Post‐War Germany (November 2015). Feature Issue, Vol. 125, Issue 588, pp. F372-F393, 2015, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2692317 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ecoj.12281

Iris Kesternich (Contact Author)

KU Leuven - Department of Economics ( email )

Leuven, B-3000
Belgium

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) - Faculty of Economics ( email )

Ludwigstrasse 28
Munich, D-80539
Germany

Bettina Siflinger

University of Mannheim - Department of Economics ( email )

D-68131 Mannheim
Germany

James P. Smith

RAND Corporation ( email )

P.O. Box 2138
1776 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Joachim K. Winter

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) ( email )

Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1
Munich, DE Bavaria 80539
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) ( email )

Amalienstrasse 33
Munich, 80799
Germany

Deutsche Bundesbank - Research Department ( email )

PO Box 10 06 02
D60006 Frankfurt
Germany

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