Born at the right time? Childhood health and the business cycle

We analyze the relationship between the state of the business cycle at birth and childhood health. We use a retrospective survey on self-reported childhood health for ten Western European countries and combine it with historically and internationally comparable data on the Gross Domestic Product. We validate the self-reported data by comparing them to realized illness spells. We find a positive relationship between being born in a recession and childhood health. This relationship is not driven by selection effects due to heightened infant mortality during recessions. Placebo regressions indicate that the observed effect is not spurious.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.


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