Essays on the Intergenerational Transmission of Disadvantage: The Role of Prenatal Health and Fertility
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
This thesis consists of four chapters on the role of prenatal health and fertility on the intergenerational transmission of disadvantage. The first two are related, and the third and fourth chapters are independent essays. The abstracts are provided in the following:
Multigenerational effects of the 1918-19 influenza pandemic on educational attainment: Evidence from Sweden
We use the 1918-19 influenza pandemic in Sweden as a natural experiment to estimate the effects of a prenatal health shock on the children of those who experienced the pandemic as a prenatal insult. We find that for women educational attainment decreases by 3-4 months of schooling if their mothers potentially experienced the Spanish flu as a prenatal insult. For men, educational attainment decreases by 4-7 months of schooling if their fathers were potentially prenatally exposed. We find no mother-son or father-daughter transmission.
Second generation effects of prenatal health shocks: Disentangling social from biological pathways
Second-generation effects of prenatal health shocks can represent direct biological effects and indirect effects via the parental household environment, but the relative importance of these two effects remains unknown. We combine an exogenous source of variation in fetal health with an adoption design and exploit the fact that adoptees do not inherit health conditions from their adoptive parents, which rules out direct effects. Adoptees are furthermore not exposed to the home environment of their biological parents, which rules out indirect post-birth effects. Our results are imprecisely estimated and need to be interpreted as suggestive at best, but seem to suggest that direct second generation effects may be positive, whereas indirect effects may be negative.
Intergenerational income mobility and fertility patterns in Sweden & USA
I contrast the USA and Sweden to shed light on the question if differences in fertility patterns can explain differences in intergenerational income mobility. I document substantial fertility differences between both countries and I quantify the importance of these differences using a simple decomposition of persistence metrics. I find that intergenerational persistence increases (decreases) in the number of children in Sweden (USA). A substantial part of the difference in intergenerational mobility estimates between Sweden and the USA originates from differences in the family size distribution.
Low birth weight and parental investments in an intervention context
Using data from a reading intervention targeted at disadvantaged households in Chicago, we investigate whether children’s initial health endowment affects parental behavior and their responsiveness to behavioral tools aimed at increasing parental investments. We find that parents with low birth weight children increase parental reading time twice as much than their normal birth weight counterparts after receiving a simple nudge to do so. These parents do not differ in their pre-intervention time investments, although there is some albeit weak evidence that their subjective beliefs about the returns to their time investments could be lower. There is no strong evidence for higher subjective costs of reading. Goal setting behavior is markedly different, though. While both groups of parents typically do not reach their reading goals, parents of normal birth weight children adjust their goals downwards in reaction to past failure of goal attainment.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Economics, Stockholm University , 2016. , 149 p.
Swedish Institute for Social Research, ISSN 0283-8222 ; 94
Research subject Economics
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-135563ISBN: 978-91-7649-612-1ISBN: 978-91-7649-613-8OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-135563DiVA: diva2:1046630
2016-12-20, hörsal 11, hus F, Universitetsvägen 10 F, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Johannesson, Magnus, Professor
Jäntti, Markus, ProfessorBjörklund, Anders, Professor
FunderThe Jan Wallander and Tom Hedelius Foundation, P2013-0041:1Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2006-1515
At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: Manuscript. Paper 2: Manuscript. Paper 3: Manuscript.2016-11-252016-11-132016-11-17Bibliographically approved
List of papers