Discussion Paper Series in Economics, Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics (NHH)
Sandra E. Black
Does grief transfer across generations? In-utero deaths and child outcomes.
(), Paul J. Devereux
() and Kjell G. Salvanes
Abstract: While much is now known about the effects of physical
health shocks to pregnant women on the outcomes of the in-utero child, we
know little about the effects of psychological stresses. One clear form of
stress to the mother comes from the death of a parent. We examine the
effects of the death of the mother’s parent during pregnancy on both the
short-run and the long-run outcomes of the infant. Our primary
specification involves using mother fixed effects— comparing the outcomes
of two children with the same mother but where a parent of the mother died
during one of the pregnancies—augmented with a control for whether there is
a death around the time of the pregnancy in order to isolate true causal
effects of a bereavement during pregnancy. We find small negative effects
on birth outcomes, and these effects are bigger for boys than for girls.
The effects on birth outcomes seems to be driven by deaths due to
cardiovascular causes suggesting that sudden deaths are more difficult to
deal with. However, we find no evidence of adverse effects on adult
outcomes. The results are robust to alternative specifications.
Keywords: Intergenerational mobility; grief; children; health shocks.; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: I10; I12; J13; (follow links to similar papers)
46 pages, June 30, 2014
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