Don't Stress: Early Life Conditions, Hypertension, and Selection into Associated Risk Factors

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dc.contributor.author McGovern, Mark
dc.date.accessioned 2012-11-02T17:17:24Z
dc.date.available 2012-11-02T17:17:24Z
dc.date.issued 2012-10
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10197/3884
dc.description.abstract Early life conditions have been linked to various domains of later life health, including cardiovascular outcomes. Using life history data from 13 European countries, I find that childhood socioeconomic status and measures of childhood health are related to hypertension, although there is cross country heterogeneity in these effects. I account for potential omitted variable bias by using aggregate measures of public health at birth, which are plausibly exogenous to the individual. I find that infant mortality at birth is positively related to hypertension, even allowing for cohort effects, and controlling for GDP at birth. Results imply that improvements in early life conditions in Europe led to an overall reduction in the hypertension rate of between 3 and 6 percentage points, for the cohort born 1931-1935, relative to the cohort born 1956-1960. An alternative strand of literature in epidemiology links contemporaneous factors, such as work place environment, to heart disease. However, theories of life cycle decision making suggest that individuals may be selected into these adverse environments and behaviours on the basis of their initial conditions. I demonstrate a strong association between early environment and these risk factors. Results imply that these should therefore be viewed as outcomes which lie on the causal pathway between initial conditions and later outcomes, in which case ignoring this selection will misattribute at least part of the effects of early life environment to current circumstance. This has important policy implications for targeting hypertension as it indicates that emphasis should also be placed on combatting disadvantage across the life course, rather than just factors which only manifest themselves in adulthood. en
dc.description.sponsorship Not applicable en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.publisher University College Dublin. School of Economics en
dc.relation.ispartofseries UCD Centre for Economic Research Working Paper Series en
dc.relation.ispartofseries WP12/27 en
dc.relation.requires Economists Online Collection & RePEc en
dc.subject Hypertension en
dc.subject Early life conditions en
dc.subject Work stress en
dc.subject Infant mortality en
dc.subject Health behaviour en
dc.subject.lcsh Health status indicators en
dc.subject.lcsh Hypertension en
dc.subject.lcsh Job stress en
dc.subject.lcsh Infants--Mortality en
dc.subject.lcsh Health behavior en
dc.title Don't Stress: Early Life Conditions, Hypertension, and Selection into Associated Risk Factors en
dc.type Working Paper en
dc.internal.availability Full text available en
dc.internal.webversions http://www.ucd.ie/t4cms/WP12_27.pdf en
dc.status Not peer reviewed en
dc.neeo.contributor McGovern|Mark|aut|


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