Research Paper NBER Working Paper Series 23763
Early childhood health shocks and adult wellbeing: evidence from wartime Britain
A growing literature argues that early environments affecting childhood health may influence significantly later-life health and financial wellbeing. We present new evidence on the relationship between child health and later-life outcomes using variation in infant mortality in England and Wales at the onset of World War II. Using data from the British Household Panel Survey, we exploit the variation in infant mortality across birth cohorts and region to estimate the associations between infant mortality and adult outcomes such as disability and employment. Our findings suggest that higher infant mortality is significantly associated with higher likelihood of disability, a lower probability of employment, and less earned income.