خسارات مادی جنگ: بحران مواد غذایی آلمان، پیشرفت تحصیلی و نتایج بازار کار گروه های پس از جنگ آلمان
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Health Economics, Volume 32, Issue 1, January 2013, Pages 286–303
Using the German 1970 census to study educational and labor market outcomes of cohorts born during the German food crisis after World War II, I document that those born between November 1945 and May 1946 have significantly lower educational attainment and occupational status than cohorts born shortly before or after. Several alternative explanations for this finding are tested. Most likely, a short spell of severe undernutrition around the end of the war has impaired intrauterine conditions in early pregnancies and resulted in long-term detriments among the affected cohorts. This conjecture is corroborated by evidence from Austria.
Labor and health economists have recently begun to study causal effects of early life conditions, in particular intrauterine conditions and early childhood health, on later-life outcomes such as educational attainment or labor market success (e.g. Almond and Currie, 2011 and Currie, 2011). For identification, part of this literature uses plausibly exogenous variation in early life conditions, such as famines (Chen and Zhou, 2007, Lindeboom et al., 2010, Neelsen and Stratmann, 2011 and Scholte et al., 2012), man-made disasters (Almond et al., 2009), natural disasters (Pörtner, 2010), influenza pandemics (Almond, 2006), drugs legislation (Nilsson, 2008), pollution (Sanders, 2012), or variations in weather conditions (Maccini and Yang, 2009). By comparing the outcomes of cohorts that were affected, for instance, by a famine with cohorts that were not, one hopes to isolate the causal effect of intrauterine or early childhood under- and malnutrition on later-life outcomes. One also hopes to contribute to the wider discussion on the origins of the health-wealth gradient – the ubiquitous finding that social status and health are correlated. Early life conditions, if they have an effect on both health and wealth at older ages, could provide one important explanation for this finding. An illustrative example for Germany of the long-term effects of being born during the hunger years of World War I on health and labor market outcomes later in life is given by Börsch-Supan and Jürges (2012), who show a substantial hike in early retirement rates (before age 55) among both German men and women born towards the end of the World War I. The aim of the present paper is to analyze educational attainment and labor market outcomes (occupation and income) of the German war and post-war cohorts of the Second World War.1 Following the fetal origins literature, I hypothesize that intrauterine malnutrition towards the end of the war and in the first months after the end of the war have lead to worse long-term educational and economic outcomes. After showing empirical results that strongly support this hypothesis, I try to rule out alternative explanations. My paper makes two important contributions to the literature on the effect of wartime or war-related famines on later-life outcomes. First, most of the current evidence is based on studies of the Dutch hunger winter 1944/1945 (e.g. Stein et al. (1975)). Thus evidence from other regions with similar periods of undernutrition are needed to confirm the findings from the Netherlands. As I will show, the food crisis in Germany (and Austria) in 1945 may have been – at least in some parts of the country – of similar proportions as in the Netherlands. Second, even for the Dutch hunger winter there is little evidence in terms of economically relevant outcomes. Recently, Scholte et al. (2012) were able to show that intrauterine malnutrition in the first trimester of pregnancy had significant effects on the likelihood of being employed at the age of 60. My study finds substantial effects of the food crisis on education, occupational status (as important markers of economic success in life), and also labor market income (at younger ages) of cohorts conceived during the height of the crisis. My analysis benefits from the fact that the data partly allow me to isolate effects of malnutrition in early versus late pregnancy. I find stronger effects of early pregnancy than late pregnancy malnutrition, which is in line with recent animal studies on brain development (Antonow-Schlorke et al., 2011).
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The aim of this paper was to study long-term effect of adverse intrauterine and early childhood conditions, exploiting as “natural experiment” the consequences of World War II for the German population, and, in particular, the “food crisis” between late 1944 and 1948. In line with the current literature on fetal origins of adult outcomes, I hypothesized that cohorts in utero immediately after the war (and born in early 1946) would have less favorable education and labor market outcomes than cohorts born earlier or later. Using data from a 10% subsample of the German 1970 census, I found a remarkably sharp negative dent in outcomes among cohorts conceived at the end of the war (around May 1945) and born between December 1945 and May 1946. These long-term costs show up even in comparison to cohorts born immediately before and after that period, who have also undergone serious economic and psychological hardship in early childhood. To my knowledge, this is the first time these significant long-term costs in the form of lower educational achievement, higher unemployment, lower occupational status and lower labor market income 25 years later have been documented for Germany. In order to support the claim that this novel finding is indeed a consequence of intrauterine malnutrition, I examined a number of empirical implications emanating from my theory. For instance, I analyzed how average educational outcomes by month-of-birth cohort are related to data on daily caloric intake across Germany. I found that quantitative and qualitative malnutrition around the time of conception has the strongest correlation (compared to late pregnancy or infancy) with the level of completed education. I was also able to show that regional variation in food availability is related to the post-war education dip. Further, I have extended the analysis in time and space. First, using data from the German 1987 census to look at education and economic outcomes another 17 years onward, I was able to confirm the findings from the analysis of the 1970 data. Second, I used census data from Austria, which –as part of the Third Reich from 1938 to 1945 – has been occupied by Allied forces after the war and also suffered from under- and malnutrition around the end of the Second World War. The Austrian data provide independent evidence of a specific effect of being born in the first part of 1946 on educational attainment and labor market outcomes. Further, I studied alternative explanations. For instance among the affected cohorts, there are children who were born to mothers who lived in the former eastern parts of Germany – and who suffered from flight and expulsion in utero when and after the Red Army marched towards Berlin. Being exposed to flight-related stress in utero was found to inflict some additional damage on unborn children. Moreover, there was no evidence that selective fertility (if children born immediately post war had less educated parents), selective mortality, or coincidental changes to the education system (unrelated to the events in 1945) might explain our findings. Finally, several directions for future research come to mind, both into the fetal origins hypothesis and into the long-term consequences of the Second World War for German and Austrian war and post-war children. First, it would be important to replicate the analysis in this paper with other large scale data sets. Second, it would be useful to look at non-economic long-term effects. For instance, the epidemiological literature is naturally concerned with health outcomes. Following the example of the “Dutch Famine” studies, it would be interesting to collect data on health outcomes of birth cohorts born a few months before November 1945 to a few months after May 1946, possibly on several subsamples exploiting the regional variation in living conditions in early to mid 1945. Overall, the current analysis has the potential to spark an exciting line of future inter-disciplinary research.