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Infant Health and Longevity: Evidence from A Historical Intervention in Sweden

Bhalotra, Sonia; Karlsson, Martin LU and Nilsson, Therese LU (2017) In Journal of the European Economic Association 15(5).
Abstract
This paper investigates the potential of an infant intervention to improve life expectancy, contributing to emerging interest in the early life origins of chronic disease. We track individuals from birth to death, and are able to identify age and cause of death. The intervention was pioneered in Sweden in 1931–1933, and appears to have been pivotal in the emergence of universal infant care programmes in the Scandinavian countries during the creation of the Welfare State. It provided information and support to mothers, with an emphasis on nutrition and sanitation, while monitoring infant care through home visits and clinics. We estimate that the average duration of programme exposure in infancy led to a 1.56% point decline in the risk of... (More)
This paper investigates the potential of an infant intervention to improve life expectancy, contributing to emerging interest in the early life origins of chronic disease. We track individuals from birth to death, and are able to identify age and cause of death. The intervention was pioneered in Sweden in 1931–1933, and appears to have been pivotal in the emergence of universal infant care programmes in the Scandinavian countries during the creation of the Welfare State. It provided information and support to mothers, with an emphasis on nutrition and sanitation, while monitoring infant care through home visits and clinics. We estimate that the average duration of programme exposure in infancy led to a 1.56% point decline in the risk of infant death (24% of baseline risk) and a 2.56% point decline in the risk of dying by age 75 (7.0% of baseline risk), and these impacts are much larger for children born out of wedlock. Intervention-led declines in the risk of dying after the age of 50 are dominated by reductions in cancer and cardiovascular mortality. We find no evidence of selective utilisation, and the estimates are similar when we exploit within-mother variation in outcomes. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Journal of the European Economic Association
volume
15
issue
5
publisher
Wiley-Blackwell
external identifiers
  • scopus:85037817849
  • wos:000412710800005
ISSN
1542-4774
DOI
10.1093/jeea/jvw028
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
8436ac81-f589-44aa-817d-6ee2a3c6ff75
date added to LUP
2016-05-31 09:09:17
date last changed
2018-08-15 10:30:38
@article{8436ac81-f589-44aa-817d-6ee2a3c6ff75,
  abstract     = {This paper investigates the potential of an infant intervention to improve life expectancy, contributing to emerging interest in the early life origins of chronic disease. We track individuals from birth to death, and are able to identify age and cause of death. The intervention was pioneered in Sweden in 1931–1933, and appears to have been pivotal in the emergence of universal infant care programmes in the Scandinavian countries during the creation of the Welfare State. It provided information and support to mothers, with an emphasis on nutrition and sanitation, while monitoring infant care through home visits and clinics. We estimate that the average duration of programme exposure in infancy led to a 1.56% point decline in the risk of infant death (24% of baseline risk) and a 2.56% point decline in the risk of dying by age 75 (7.0% of baseline risk), and these impacts are much larger for children born out of wedlock. Intervention-led declines in the risk of dying after the age of 50 are dominated by reductions in cancer and cardiovascular mortality. We find no evidence of selective utilisation, and the estimates are similar when we exploit within-mother variation in outcomes.},
  articleno    = {1101–1157},
  author       = {Bhalotra, Sonia and Karlsson, Martin and Nilsson, Therese},
  issn         = {1542-4774},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {5},
  publisher    = {Wiley-Blackwell},
  series       = {Journal of the European Economic Association},
  title        = {Infant Health and Longevity: Evidence from A Historical Intervention in Sweden},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jeea/jvw028},
  volume       = {15},
  year         = {2017},
}