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Transgenerational health effects of in utero exposure to economic hardship: Evidence from preindustrial Southern Norway

Emre Sari, Mikko Moilanen and Hilde Leikny Sommerseth

Economics & Human Biology, 2021, vol. 43, issue C

Abstract: We studied whether in utero exposure to economic hardship during a grandmother’s pregnancy has a transgenerational effect on her grandchildren's health condition. We used an individual-level three-generation data set covering people born between 1734 and 1840 in the municipality of Rendalen in Norway. We found a culling effect in which grandchildren whose grandmothers gave birth in years of economic hardship lived approximately ten years longer than grandchildren whose mothers were born in years of economic well-being. This impact was only observed among the grandmothers who belong to the lowest social classes. Our results also showed that in higher social classes, economic hardship during a grandmother’s pregnancy deteriorated her grandchildren’s health by “scarring” the mother’s health.

Keywords: Economic hardship; Transgenerational effects; Culling effect; Scarring effect; Historical population (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I1 I14 I15 J12 J13 J62 N33 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:43:y:2021:i:c:s1570677x2100085x

DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2021.101060

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