Childhood economic conditions and length of life: Evidence from the UK Boyd Orr cohort, 1937-2005

Frijters, Paul, Hatton, Timothy J., Martin, Richard M. and Shields, Michael A (2010) Childhood economic conditions and length of life: Evidence from the UK Boyd Orr cohort, 1937-2005. Journal of Health Economics, 29 1: 39-47. doi:10.1016/j.jhealeco.2009.10.004

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Author Frijters, Paul
Hatton, Timothy J.
Martin, Richard M.
Shields, Michael A
Title Childhood economic conditions and length of life: Evidence from the UK Boyd Orr cohort, 1937-2005
Journal name Journal of Health Economics   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0167-6296
Publication date 2010-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2009.10.004
Open Access Status
Volume 29
Issue 1
Start page 39
End page 47
Total pages 9
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Abstract We study the importance of childhood socioeconomic conditions in predicting differences in life expectancy using data from a large sample of children collected in 16 locations in England and Scotland in 1937-39, who have been traced through official death records up to 2005. We estimate a number of duration of life models that control for unobserved family heterogeneity. Our results confirm that childhood conditions such as household income and the quality of the home environment are significant predictors of longevity. Importantly, however, the role of socioeconomic status appears to differ across cause of death, with household income being a significant predictor of death from smoking-related cancer. Moreover, we find that (1) poor housing conditions in childhood is associated with reduced longevity, that (2) early doctor-assessed childhood health conditions significantly predict a reduced length of life, that (3) children born in a location with relatively high infant mortality rates live significantly fewer years, and that (4) there is a high correlation in longevity across children from the same family across all causes of death. We estimate that the difference in life expectancy between those with the 'best' and 'worst' observable characteristics is about 9 years, which increases to 20 years when we take into account the 'best' and 'worst' observable and unobservable household characteristics.
Keyword Childhood
Duration models
Length of life
Socioeconomic characteristics
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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School of Economics Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 17 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Mon, 06 Dec 2010, 16:47:04 EST by Alys Hohnen on behalf of School of Economics