NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Does grief transfer across generations? In-utero deaths and child outcomes

Sandra Black, Paul J. Devereux, Kjell Salvanes

NBER Working Paper No. 19979
Issued in March 2014
NBER Program(s):   CH   ED   LS

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.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from SSRN.com ($5) for electronic delivery.

Information about Free Papers

You should expect a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a ".GOV" domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.

If you usually get free papers at work/university but do not at home, you can either connect to your work VPN or proxy (if any) or elect to have a link to the paper emailed to your work email address below. The email address must be connected to a subscribing college, university, or other subscribing institution. Gmail and other free email addresses will not have access.

E-mail:

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w19979

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Schaller and Stevens w19884 Short-run Effects of Job Loss on Health Conditions, Health Insurance, and Health Care Utilization
Imbens w19959 Matching Methods in Practice: Three Examples
Imbens w19983 Instrumental Variables: An Econometrician's Perspective
Moser, Voena, and Waldinger w19962 German-Jewish Emigres and U.S. Invention
Hotz and Pantano w19542 Strategic Parenting, Birth Order and School Performance
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us