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Childhood Nutrition and Income Status Effects on Health and Economic Outcomes

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Item Summary

Title: Childhood Nutrition and Income Status Effects on Health and Economic Outcomes
Authors: Wang, Huixia
Issue Date: May 2016
Publisher: [Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2016]
Abstract: This dissertation, “Childhood Nutrition and Income Status Effects on Health and Economic Outcomes”, estimates the effects of childhood nutrition and family income on an adult’s health and social economic status. The relevance of my work lies in the fact that the future rests on today’s children, i.e. evidence shows that intergenerational disparity in health and economic outcomes among adults are reflective of what happened early in their lives. Hence, there is a real need to understand childhood intervention policies or affirmative actions that may affect future economic well-being.
The first chapter in my dissertation investigates the long-term effects of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program by ex- amining the adults who had exposure to the program when they were children. Using the difference-in-differences methodology and exploiting the timing of the introduction of the WIC program in the US, our results suggest that children of low-income families who were exposed to the WIC program end up as adults who were healthier and more economically stable. In particular, exposed individuals have 6 percent less probability of having cancer and 0.4 less of number of ADL. In addition, our results suggest that individuals with expo- sure of WIC are more likely to be employed and above the census poverty line. Moreover, full exposure to WIC program also reduces the chance of having mental problems and feel- ing depressed. Males show larger beneficial effects for both physical health outcomes and mental health outcomes. These findings suggest that WIC has long lasting beneficial effects for low-income families.
The second chapter contributes to the growing body of research that measures the effects of health shocks, both during childhood and in-utero, in developing countries. Our paper looks the Great Chinese famine from 1959 to 1961. Using CHARLS 2011 wave, we mea- sure a large quantity of health indicators such as biomarkers, functional limitations, chronic diseases, physical disabilities, etc., and economic outcomes such as house price, house char- acteristics, durable goods price, etc. We find that people who were exposed to the Great Chinese Famine in early childhood show negative effects in later life health and economic performance. Female suffers more than men and rural-born individuals generally have worse adult health and economic performance than their urban-born counterparts.
The third chapter in my dissertation, “Do macroeconomic conditions affect your health? Evidence from China”, examines the effect of the macroeconomic conditions in China from 1987 to 2011 on mortality. This paper is the first to examine the effect of the macroeconomic conditions on mortality in China from 1987 to 2011. Using unemployment rate to proxy for macroeconomic conditions in China, we find that although unemployment does not affect total mortality rate from 1987 to 2011, mortality rate is strongly pro-cyclical from 1987 to 1997. In particular, one percentage point increase in unemployment rate leads to 1.6 percentage point deduction in total mortality rate. Using the 1997 population as baseline, this implies a reduction of 125,550 fatalities. Moreover, by examining this relationship separately within highly developed and developing regions in China, we find a negative relationship between unemployment and mortality rates before 1998 for developing regions, i.e. one percentage point increase of the unemployment rate decreases the mortality rate by 2.1 percentage points. Moreover, one percentage point rise in the unemployment rate reduces the mortality rate by 2.7 percentage points in the highly developed regions in 1998-2011.
Description: Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2016.
Includes bibliographical references.
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/51426
Appears in Collections:Ph.D. - Economics


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