Shadows of the Captain of the Men of Death: Early Life Health Interventions, Human Capital Investments, and InstitutionsISER External Seminars

We leverage the introduction of antibiotics in 1937 to demonstrate the long-run impacts
of pneumonia in infancy on human capital and socioeconomic status among American adults. These impacts are larger for whites, despite the fact that blacks experienced larger post-1937 declines in pneumonia mortality rates. We argue that pre-Civil Rights barriers inhibited blacks from consolidating the socioeconomic returns to improved health endowments by depressing returns to human capital accumulation and limiting complementary investments. Consistent with this, we demonstrate gradients in impacts for blacks (but not whites) by indicators of institutional segregation. Our results highlight the importance of responsive investments in translating early-life health into later life socioeconomic status and persistent impacts of racial segregation.

Presented by:

Sonia Bhalotra (University of Bristol)

Date & time:

29 Oct 2012 16:00 pm


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