Long Run Health Impacts of Income Shocks: Wine and Phylloxera in 19th Century France

45 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2007

See all articles by Abhijit V. Banerjee

Abhijit V. Banerjee

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics

Esther Duflo

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics; Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD)

Gilles Postel-Vinay

Ecole Normale Superieure (INRA-ENS)

Timothy Watts

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 30, 2007

Abstract

This paper provides estimates of the long-term effects on height and health of a large income shock experienced in early childhood. Phylloxera, an insect that attacks the roots of grape vines, destroyed 40% of French vineyards between 1863 and 1890, causing major income losses among wine growing families. Because the insects spread slowly from the southern coast of France to the rest of the country, Phylloxera affected different regions in different years. We exploit the regional variation in the timing of this shock to identify its effects. We examine the effects on the adult height, health, and life expectancy of children born in the years and regions affected by the Phylloxera. The shock decreased long run height, but it did not affect other dimensions of health, including life expectancy. We find that, at age 20, those born in affected regions were about 1.8 millimeters shorter than others. This estimate implies that children of wine-growing families born when the vines were affected in their regions were 0.6 to 0.9 centimeters shorter than others by age 20. This is a significant effect since average heights grew by only 2 centimeters in the entire 19th century. However, we find no other effect on health, including infant mortality, life expectancy, and morbidity by age 20.

Keywords: Military data, Height; fetal origin

JEL Classification: I12, O12, N32

Suggested Citation

Banerjee, Abhijit V. and Duflo, Esther and Postel-Vinay, Gilles and Watts, Timothy, Long Run Health Impacts of Income Shocks: Wine and Phylloxera in 19th Century France (January 30, 2007). MIT Department of Economics Working Paper No. 07-03. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=960875 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.960875

Abhijit V. Banerjee (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )

50 Memorial Drive
Room E52-252D
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-8855 (Phone)
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Esther Duflo

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )

50 Memorial Drive
Room E52-544
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States
617-258-7013 (Phone)
617-253-6915 (Fax)

Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) ( email )

Cambridge, MA
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.povertyactionlab.org/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD) ( email )

Duke University
Durham, NC 90097
United States

Gilles Postel-Vinay

Ecole Normale Superieure (INRA-ENS) ( email )

48 boulevard Jourdan
75014 Paris
France
33 1 4313 6361 (Phone)
33 1 4313 6362 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.inra.fr/Internet/Departements/ESR/UR/lea/equipe/postelg/

Timothy Watts

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )

Dept of Economics, Rm E52-391
E52-391
Cambridge, MA 02142

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