Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Papers,
Lund University, Department of Economics

No 2012:23: Critical Periods during Childhood and Adolescence: A Study of Adult Height among Immigrant Siblings

Gerard J. van den Berg (), Petter Lundborg (), Paul Nystedt () and Dan-Olof Rooth ()
Additional contact information
Gerard J. van den Berg: Department of Economics, University of Mannheim, Postal: Department of Economics, L7, 3-5, , 68161 Mannheim, Germany
Petter Lundborg: Department of Economics, Lund University, Postal: Department of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Lund University, Box 7082, S-220 07 Lund, Sweden
Paul Nystedt: Department of Economics, Linköping University, Postal: Dept of Economics, Linköping University, SE-581 83 Linköping, Sweden
Dan-Olof Rooth: Linnaeus University, Postal: Kalmar Nyckel, SE-39182 Kalmar, Sweden;

Abstract: We identify the ages that constitute critical periods in children’s development towards their adult health status. For this we use data on families migrating into Sweden from countries that are poorer, with less healthy conditions. Long-run health is proxied by adult height. The relation between siblings’ ages at migration and their heights after age 18 allows us to estimate the causal effect of conditions at certain ages on adult height. We effectively exploit that for siblings the migration occurs simultaneously in calendar time but at different developmental stages (ages). We find some evidence that the period just before the puberty growth spurt constitutes a critical period.

Keywords: early-life conditions; migration; parental education; adult health; height retardation; age; fetal programming; developmental origins

JEL-codes: F22; I10; I12; I18; I20; I30; J10; N30

44 pages, September 12, 2012

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