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*, Joachim K. Winter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)F372-F393
JournalEconomic Journal
Volume125
Issue number588
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015

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