Wartime Health Shocks and the Postwar Socioeconomic Status and Mortality of Union Army Veterans and their Children
We investigate when and how health shocks reverberate across the life cycle and down to descendants in a manual labor economy by examining the association of war wounds with the socioeconomic status and older age mortality of US CivilWar (1861-5) veterans and of their adult children. Younger veterans who had been severely wounded in the war left the farm sector, becoming laborers. Consistent with human capital and job matching models, older severely wounded men were unlikely to switch sectors and their wealth declined by 37-46%. War wounds were correlated with children’s socioeconomic and mortality outcomes in ways dependent on sex and paternal age group.
We thank Matthew Kahn and participants at the NBER Cohort Studies program and the Trans Pacific Labor Seminar. We gratefully acknowledge the support of NIH grant P01 AG10120 and the use of facilities and resources at the California Center for Population Research, UCLA, which is supported in part by NICDH grant P2C HD041022. Costa was responsible for the sample design, the analyses, the interpretation, and the writing. Yetter and DeSomer were responsible for all data acquisition, collection, cleaning, and coding. The paper was presented at the 2018 National Bureau of Economic Research Cohort Studies Meeting Honoring Robert W. Fogel, which was funded by NIA R13 AG034758. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
- For severely wounded veterans and their families, injuries sustained during the Civil War continued to take their toll for decades...
Dora L. Costa & Noelle Yetter & Heather DeSomer, 2019. "Wartime Health Shocks and the Postwar Socioeconomic Status and Mortality of Union Army Veterans and their Children," Journal of Health Economics, .