Child Mortality, Income and Adult Height

42 Pages Posted: 16 Mar 2007 Last revised: 14 Jan 2011

See all articles by Carlos Bozzoli

Carlos Bozzoli

Princeton University - Department of Economics

Angus Deaton

Princeton University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Climent Quintana-Domeque

Princeton University - Department of Economics

Date Written: March 2007

Abstract

We investigate the childhood determinants of adult height in populations, focusing on the respective roles of income and of disease. We develop a model of selection and scarring, in which the early life burden of nutrition and disease is not only responsible for mortality in childhood but also leaves a residue of long-term health risks for survivors, risks that express themselves in adult height, as well as in late-life disease. Across a range of European countries and the United States, we find a strong inverse relationship between postneonatal (one month to one year) mortality, interpreted as a measure of the disease and nutritional burden in childhood, and the mean height of those children as adults. In pooled birth-cohort data over 30 years for the United States and eleven European countries, postneonatal mortality in the year of birth accounts for more than 60 percent of the combined cross-country and cross-cohort variation in adult heights. The estimated effects are smaller but remain significant once we allow for country and birth-cohort effects. In the poorest and highest mortality countries of the world, there is evidence that child mortality is positively associated with adult height. That selection should dominate scarring at high mortality levels, and scarring dominate selection at low mortality levels, is consistent with the model for reasonable values of its parameters.

Suggested Citation

Bozzoli, Carlos and Deaton, Angus S. and Quintana-Domeque, Climent, Child Mortality, Income and Adult Height (March 2007). NBER Working Paper No. w12966, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=973192

Carlos Bozzoli

Princeton University - Department of Economics ( email )

Fisher Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States

Angus S. Deaton (Contact Author)

Princeton University ( email )

Woodrow Wilson School
Princeton, NJ 08544
United States
609-258-5967 (Phone)
609-258-5974 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.wws.princeton.edu/~deaton

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Climent Quintana-Domeque

Princeton University - Department of Economics ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States

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