Childhood Health Shocks, Comparative Advantage, and Long-Term Outcomes: Evidence from the Last Danish Polio Epidemic

28 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2018

See all articles by Miriam Gensowski

Miriam Gensowski

University of Copenhagen

Torben Nielsen

The Danish National Centre for Social Research

Nete Nielsen

Statens Serums Institut

Maya Rossin-Slater

Columbia University

Miriam Wüst

The Danish National Centre for Social Research

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Abstract

A large literature documents that childhood health shocks have lasting negative consequences for adult outcomes. This paper demonstrates that the adversity of childhood physical disability can be mediated by individuals' educational and occupational choices, which reflect their comparative advantage. We merge records on children hospitalized with poliomyelitis during the 1952 Danish epidemic to census and administrative data, and exploit quasi-random variation in paralysis incidence. While childhood disability increases the likelihood of early retirement and disability pension receipt at age 50, paralytic polio survivors obtain higher education and are more likely to work in white-collar and computer-demanding jobs than their non-paralytic counterparts.

Keywords: childhood health shocks, occupational sorting, comparative advantage, long-term effects

JEL Classification: I14, J24, I24, I10

Suggested Citation

Gensowski, Miriam and Nielsen, Torben and Nielsen, Nete and Rossin-Slater, Maya and Wüst, Miriam, Childhood Health Shocks, Comparative Advantage, and Long-Term Outcomes: Evidence from the Last Danish Polio Epidemic. IZA Discussion Paper No. 11630, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3209727

Miriam Gensowski (Contact Author)

University of Copenhagen ( email )

Nørregade 10
Copenhagen, København DK-1165
Denmark

Torben Nielsen

The Danish National Centre for Social Research ( email )

Herluf Trolles Gade 11
Copenhagen, 1052
Denmark

Nete Nielsen

Statens Serums Institut ( email )

Ørestads Boulevard 5
Copenhagen, 2300S
Denmark

Maya Rossin-Slater

Columbia University ( email )

1022 International Affairs Bldg
420 West 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States

Miriam Wüst

The Danish National Centre for Social Research ( email )

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