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Economics and Human Biology

Amílcar E Challú, Sergio Silva-Castañeda
We examine the evolution of adult female heights in twelve Latin American countries during the second half of the twentieth century based on demographic health surveys and related surveys compiled from national and international organizations. Only countries with more than one survey were included, allowing us to cross-examine surveys and correct for biases. We first show that average height varies significantly according to location, from 148.3cm in Guatemala to 158.8cm in Haiti. The evolution of heights over these decades behaves like indicators of human development, showing a steady increase of 2...
October 7, 2016: Economics and Human Biology
Stéphanie Vincent Lyk-Jensen, Cecilie Dohlmann Weatherall, Peter Winning Jepsen
Public concern about soldiers' mental health has increased over the last decade. Yet the large literature on the mental health problems of returning soldiers relies primarily on self-reported measures that may suffer from non-response bias, usually refers to older conflicts, and focuses mainly on specific diagnoses such as PTSD. Another challenge is that the differences between soldiers and non-soldiers are not necessarily causal, instead possibly reflecting an underlying propensity towards active military service...
September 30, 2016: Economics and Human Biology
Marco Caliendo, Markus Gehrsitz
This paper applies semiparametric regression models to shed light on the relationship between body weight and labor market outcomes in Germany. We find conclusive evidence that these relationships are poorly described by linear or quadratic OLS specifications. Women's wages and employment probabilities do not follow a linear relationship and are highest at a body weight far below the clinical threshold of obesity. This indicates that looks, rather than health, is the driving force behind the adverse labor market outcomes to which overweight women are subject...
September 28, 2016: Economics and Human Biology
Enkelejda Havari, Franco Peracchi
We document the association between war-related shocks in childhood and adult outcomes for Europeans born during the first half of the twentieth century. Using a variety of data, at both the macro- and the micro-level, we address the following questions: What are the patterns of mortality among Europeans born during this period? Do war-related shocks in childhood and adolescence help predict adult health, human capital and wellbeing of the survivors? Are there differences by sex, socio-economic status in childhood, and age when the shocks occurred? At the macro-level, we show that the secular trend towards lower mortality was interrupted by dramatic increases in mortality during World War I, the Spanish Flu, the Spanish Civil War, and World War II, and we quantify the size of these mortality shocks...
September 16, 2016: Economics and Human Biology
Sofie Persson, Ulf-G Gerdtham, Katarina Steen Carlsson
This paper examines the effect of the onset of Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (T1DM) before 15 years of age on labor market outcomes and contributes to the literature on effects of childhood health on adult socioeconomic status. Using national Swedish socioeconomic register data 1991-2010 for 2485 individuals born 1972-1978 with onset of T1DM in 1977-1993, we find that T1DM in childhood has a negative effect on labor market outcomes later in life. Part of the T1DM effect is channeled through occupational field which may be related to both choice and opportunities...
September 14, 2016: Economics and Human Biology
Eleonora Fichera, Richard Emsley, Matt Sutton
Healthy lifestyle choices and doctor consultations can be substitutes or complements in the health production function. In this paper we consider the relation between the number of doctor consultations and the frequency of patient physical activity. We use a novel application of the Dose-Response Function model proposed by Hirano and Imbens (2004) to deal with treatment endogeneity under the no unmeasured confounding assumption. Our application takes account of unobserved heterogeneity and uses dynamic non-linear models for the treatment and outcome variables of interest...
September 11, 2016: Economics and Human Biology
Mevlude Akbulut-Yuksel, Adriana D Kugler
It is well known that a substantial part of income and education is passed on from parents to children, generating substantial persistence in socioeconomic status across generations. In this paper, we examine whether another form of human capital, health, is also largely transmitted from generation to generation. Using data from the NLSY, we first present new evidence on intergenerational transmission of health outcomes in the U.S., including weight, height, the body mass index (BMI), asthma and depression for both natives and immigrants...
September 6, 2016: Economics and Human Biology
Nicholas Wilson, Martha Janicki
A large body of economic research suggests that publicly observable anthropometric characteristics affect labor and marriage market outcomes. Private anthropometrics may not affect these outcomes. We examine male circumcision in marriage markets in Zambia. Our analysis reveals substantial variation across local marriage markets in circumcision prevalence relative to preference for circumcised partners, as well as excess aggregate demand for circumcised males. Regression estimates suggest a marriage market premium of approximately one-half to one year of additional schooling for matching with a partner of preferred anthropometric type in a local marriage market with excess demand for that anthropometric characteristic...
August 31, 2016: Economics and Human Biology
Timothy J Classen, Owen Thompson
This paper compares the strength of intergenerational transmission of body mass index (BMI) and obesity in a sample of adoptees relative to a matched sample of biological children with similar observable characteristics. We find that BMI and obesity are strongly correlated among biological parent-child pairs, but there are no significant intergenerational associations in these health traits among adoptive parent-child pairs. The intergenerational elasticity of BMI for children to their parents is 0.2 in the matched biological sample, but indistinguishable from zero for adopted children with a standard error more than three times as large as the coefficient...
August 23, 2016: Economics and Human Biology
Olugbenga Ajilore, Aliaksandr Amialchuk, Keven Egan
Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent to Adult Health, we estimate the effect of peers' alcohol consumption and alcohol prices on the drinking habits of high-school-age youth. We use the two-stage residual inclusion method to account for the endogeneity of peer drinking in nonlinear models. For our sample of high school students, we find that peer effects are statistically and economically significant regarding the choice to participate in drinking but are not significant for the frequency of drinking, including binge drinking...
August 2, 2016: Economics and Human Biology
María Merino Ventosa, Rosa M Maria Merino Ven Gmail Com Urbanos-Garrido
This paper complements previous estimations regarding socioeconomic inequalities in obesity for Spanish adults, and provides new evidence about the mechanisms through which socioeconomic status (SES) affects obesity. Microdata from the Spanish National Health Survey (SNHS) 2011-2012 are analysed. Corrected concentration indices (CCI) are calculated to measure inequality. Path analysis is employed to disentangle direct and indirect effects of SES on obesity, where dietary patterns, physical activity and sleep habits act as mediator variables...
September 2016: Economics and Human Biology
Kelly Noonan, Hope Corman, Nancy E Reichman
We use data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort to estimate the effects of maternal depression, a condition that is fairly common and can be severe, on food insecurity, a hardship that has increased substantially in the U.S. Using various model specifications, we find convincing evidence that severe maternal depression increases the likelihood that young children experience food insecurity by 23-79%, with estimates depending on model specification and measures of depression and food insecurity...
September 2016: Economics and Human Biology
Carlos G Bozzoli
I study the relation between orphanhood and fertility patterns in young adults using a longitudinal survey from the city of Cape Town, South Africa. The data set combines two survey waves with a year-by-year life history calendar that records key outcomes (e.g., schooling, work, fertility). It also provides information on so-called 'parental investments' (time and material support), family background, and literacy and numeracy test scores. I find that orphans exhibit significantly higher rates of teenage pregnancy...
September 2016: Economics and Human Biology
Gordon G Liu, Xindong Xue, Chenxi Yu, Yafeng Wang
This paper uses longitudinal data from China to examine the causal relationship between structural social capital and health among Chinese older adults. We employ various econometric strategies to control for the potential endogeneity of social capital and account for the possible contextual confounding effects by including community-level social capital. We use three indicators to measure individuals' general, physical, and mental health. Results indicate that social capital has a significant and positive effect on general and physical health...
September 2016: Economics and Human Biology
Vikesh Amin, Aparna Lhila
Despite declining smoking rates in the U.S., a substantial fraction of adolescents still smoke. In addition, there are notable racial differences in adolescent smoking. We use Add Health data and apply a nonlinear decomposition method to determine the extent to which racial differences in observable characteristics account for (i) the racial smoking gaps in adolescent smoking (ages 12-18) and (ii) racial gaps in the probability of becoming a smoker in young adulthood (ages 18-24), conditional on being a non-smoker in adolescence...
September 2016: Economics and Human Biology
Ahmad Yosuf Abu Dalou
The purpose of this study is to document and explain secular trends in stature among Northern Jordanian men and women between the years of birth 1960 and 1990, as they relate to overall per capita socio-economic improvement, the stature of 360 adults from two Northern governorates, those of Jerash and Irbid, was measured. General linear model (GLM) was used to examine the effect of birth-decade, education level of subject, and their interaction on mean stature of each sex separately. GLM results revealed that women who were born during the following three decades pooled together (1951-1980) did not differ significantly in mean stature from those born during (1981-1990)...
September 2016: Economics and Human Biology
Hans de Beer
The physical stature of Surinamese soldiers is estimated to have increased by more than 3cm between 1870 and 1909. In the subsequent four decades, the increase in adult male and female height amounted to 0.3-0.5cm and 0.9-1.0cm per decade, respectively. This increase in height continued and accelerated during the second half of the twentieth century. Height increase among African and Hindustani Surinamese males and females was similar. Height differences between African and Hindustani Surinamese were therefore fairly constant over time, at 4-5cm...
September 2016: Economics and Human Biology
Wen-Yi Chen
This study investigates the casual linkage between economic conditions around the time of birth and late life cognitive abilities. The zero-inflated negative binomial and multivariate logistic regression models were used to evaluate the direct and indirect effect of economic conditions around the time of birth on late life cognitive abilities, respectively. Both direct and indirect effects of economic conditions around the time of birth on late life cognitive abilities were identified. The relative risk ratio in adjusted mean scores of the Short Portable Mental Status Questionnaire (a means to measure cognitive impairment) indicates that being born in an economic recession year (experiencing economic recession during the year prior to birth) increases the risk of difficulties with cognition by 17...
September 2016: Economics and Human Biology
Jonas Minet Kinge
Earlier literature has usually modelled the impact of obesity on employment status as a binary choice (employed, yes/no). I provide new evidence on the impact of obesity on employment status by treating the dependent variable as a as a multinomial choice variable. Using data from a representative English survey, with measured height and weight on parents and children, I define employment status as one of four: working; looking for paid work; permanently not working due to disability; and, looking after home or family...
September 2016: Economics and Human Biology
Nicolau Martin Bassols, Judit Vall Castelló
This paper presents evidence on how the consumption of legal and illegal drugs has changed in response to the Great Recession in Spain. We use a large scale survey from 2005 to 2011 to analyze the association between changes in local economic conditions and drug consumption among individuals aged 15-64. Although Spain was one of the countries hardest hit by the economic downturn, the crisis was unevenly felt across the country. Therefore, we exploit this difference in unemployment rates across provinces to identify the effects of business cycle variations on the consumption of legal and illegal drugs...
September 2016: Economics and Human Biology
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