Infant Health, Cognitive Performance and Earnings: Evidence from Inception of the Welfare State in Sweden

73 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2016

See all articles by Sonia R. Bhalotra

Sonia R. Bhalotra

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Martin Karlsson

University of Duisburg-Essen

Therese Nilsson

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN); Lund University - Department of Economics

Nina Schwarz

UFZ Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig-Halle

Abstract

We estimate impacts of exposure to an infant health intervention trialled in Sweden in the early 1930s using purposively digitised birth registers linked to school catalogues, census files and tax records to generate longitudinal microdata that track individuals through five stages of the life-course, from birth to age 71. This allows us to measure impacts on childhood health and cognitive skills at ages 7 and 10, educational and occupational choice at age 16-20, employment, earnings and occupation at age 36-40, and pension income at age 71.Leveraging quasi-random variation in eligibility by birth date and birth parish, we estimate that an additional year of exposure was associated with improved reading and writing skills in primary school, and increased enrolment in university and apprenticeship in late adolescence. These changes are larger and more robust for men, but we find increases in secondary school completion which are unique to women. In the longer run, we find very substantial increases in employment (especially in the public sector) and income among women, alongside absolutely no impacts among men. We suggest that this may be, at least in part, because these cohorts were exposed to a massive expansion of the Swedish welfare state, which created more jobs for women than for men.

Keywords: infant health, early life interventions, cognitive skills, education, earnings, occupational choice, programme evaluation, Sweden

JEL Classification: I15, I18, H41

Suggested Citation

Bhalotra, Sonia R. and Karlsson, Martin and Nilsson, Therese and Schwarz, Nina, Infant Health, Cognitive Performance and Earnings: Evidence from Inception of the Welfare State in Sweden. IZA Discussion Paper No. 10339, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2868284

Sonia R. Bhalotra (Contact Author)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

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

Martin Karlsson

University of Duisburg-Essen ( email )

Therese Nilsson

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) ( email )

Box 55665
Grevgatan 34, 2nd floor
Stockholm, SE-102 15
Sweden

Lund University - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7082
S-220 07 Lund
Sweden
+46 46 222 46 43 (Phone)

Nina Schwarz

UFZ Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig-Halle ( email )

Permoserstrasse 15
D-04318 Leipzig
Germany

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