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Individual Behaviour as a Pathway between Early†life Shocks and Adult Health: Evidence from Hunger Episodes in Post†war Germany

Iris Kesternich (), Bettina Siflinger, James P. Smith and Joachim Winter ()

Economic Journal, 2015, vol. 125, issue 588, F372-F393

Abstract: We investigate long†run effects of hunger episodes experienced during childhood on health status and behavioural outcomes in later life. We combine self†reported data on hunger experiences from SHARELIFE with administrative data on food supply (caloric rations) in post†war Germany. The data suggest that individual behaviour is a pathway between early life†shocks and adult health. We find that lower†income adults who experienced hunger spend a larger fraction of income on food. Taken together, our results confirm that in addition to the well†documented biological channel from early life circumstances to adult health, there are also behavioural pathways.

Date: 2015
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