Lund Papers in Economic History, Department of Economic History, Lund University
Infant health and later-life labour market outcomes : Evidence from the introduction of sulfa antibiotics in Sweden
Abstract: There is a growing body of literature showing that health
in infancy has a strong influence on health and productivity later in life.
This paper uses exogenous improvements in infant health generated by the
introduction of a medical innovation in the late 1930s as treatment against
several infectious diseases, in particular pneumonia reduced by the advent
of the sulfa medicaments. Based on rich administrative population data for
Sweden 1968–2012 and archival data on the availability of sulfa
antibiotics, it explores the effect of reduction in exposure to pneumonia
in infancy on labour market outcomes discerned in adulthood of the affected
cohorts. Our findings suggest that mitigation of pneumonia disease burden
in infancy substantially reduced probability of working disability and
increased labour income in late adulthood. Regarding the mechanisms, the
beneficial effects are strong for health, measured with reduced number of
hospital admissions, and somewhat weaker for years of schooling. These
effects are fairly equal among males and females, and larger among
individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. All effects are robust to
various specifications including regional and family factors.
Keywords: medical innovation; sulfa antibiotics; early-life effects; infancy; labour productivity; Health; human capital; Sweden; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: H41; I15; I18; N34; (follow links to similar papers)
66 pages, February 28, 2017
Before downloading any of the electronic versions below
you should read our statement on
for viewing Postscript files and the
Acrobat Reader for viewing and printing pdf files.
Full text versions of the paper:
Questions (including download problems) about the papers in this series should be directed to Benny Carlsson () or Tobias Karlsson ()
Report other problems with accessing this service to Sune Karlsson ()
or Helena Lundin ().
Design by Joachim Ekebom