Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Research Institute of Industrial Economics

No 1124: Life Expectancy and Mother-Baby Interventions: Evidence from a Historical Trial

Sonia Bhalotra, Martin Karlsson and Therese Nilsson ()
Additional contact information
Sonia Bhalotra: University of Essex
Martin Karlsson: University of Duisburg-Essen
Therese Nilsson: Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN), Postal: and Lund University

Abstract: This paper investigates the potential of an infant intervention to improve life expectancy, contributing to emerging interest in the early life origins of chronic disease. We analyse a pioneering program trialled in Sweden in the 1930s, which provided information, support and monitoring of infant care. Using birth certificate data from parish records matched to death registers, we estimate that the average duration of program exposure in infancy led to a 1.54% point decline in the risk of infant death (23% of baseline risk) and a 2.37% decline in the risk of dying by age 75 (6.5% of baseline risk).

Keywords: Maternal care; Infant care; Early life interventions; Barker Hypothesis; Program

JEL-codes: H41; I15; I18

49 pages, May 27, 2016

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