Mevlude Akbulut-Yuksel, 10 May 2022

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has forced millions of Ukrainian children to leave their schools and homes. Such adverse shocks early in life can have profound long-term effects. This column presents evidence from WWII and the Vietnam War of how childhood war exposure had detrimental effects on education, physical and mental health, and labour market outcomes, even decades after the conflicts. The effects were most pronounced for girls and children of lower socioeconomic status. Policies that prioritise children are essential to reduce the enduring effects of war.

N. Meltem Daysal, Hui Ding, Maya Rossin-Slater, Hannes Schwandt, 04 January 2022

Pandemics have a major impact on households and the economy. But how common endemic viruses affect long-term population human capital and economic outcomes is not well understood. This column uses data from Denmark to explore the mechanisms and consequences of a child’s exposure to respiratory disease in early life. Younger siblings have two to three-times higher rates of hospitalisation for respiratory conditions during their first year of life compared to older siblings. The family unit plays a central role in virus transmission and birth order can influence children’s longer-term outcomes.

Eric Schneider, 27 August 2021

The records of London's Foundling Hospital provide centuries of information on children's health. Eric Schneider tells Tim Phillips how he used this data to discover surprising information about the link between nutrition and common childhood illnesses.

Read more about the research behind this Vox Talk:

Schneider, E. 2021. 'The Effect of Nutritional Status on Historical Infectious Disease Morbidity: Evidence from the London Foundling Hospital, 1892-1919'. CEPR

Evelina Björkegren, Mikael Lindahl, Mårten Palme, Emilia Simeonova, 11 March 2021

It is well documented that children from affluent families tend to be healthier than poor children, but distinguishing between the genetic and environmental causes of these health outcomes remains difficult. This column uses data from a large sample of Swedish children to compare those raised by their biological parents to adoptees. It finds that the link between parents’ education level and children’s long-term health is forged by mediating factors – from the formation of cognitive and non-cognitive skills to health-related life habits – and due primarily to investments in children’s human capital.

Liam Delaney, James P Smith, Mark McGovern, 23 October 2011

Public-health interventions in Ireland during the 1940s were successful in dramatically reducing infant mortality. This column argues that in addition to any immediate benefits, they also had long-run effects by improving the health of the adults who were affected as children, especially those from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

Janet Currie, 19 July 2008

What explains the poverty trap? This column summarises a vast array of evidence on the relationship between parents’ socioeconomic status, children’s health, and children’s future socioeconomic outcomes. Poverty worsens childhood health, which leads to adulthood poverty. Focusing on young mothers’ health and wellbeing could break the cycle.

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