Reevaluating the Long-Term Impact of In Utero Exposure to the 1918 Influenza Pandemic
Almond (2006) argues that in utero exposure to the 1918 influenza pandemic reduced the 1919 birth cohort’s adult socioeconomic status (SES). We show that this cohort came from lower-SES families, which is incompatible with Almond’s cohort-comparison identification strategy. The adult SES deficit is reduced after background characteristics are controlled for; it is small and statistically insignificant in models that include household fixed effects. Replicating Almond’s state-level dose-response analysis, we find no evidence in census data that influenza exposure reduced adult SES. Evidence from a city-level dose-response analysis on educational attainment using WWII enlistees from 287 cities is mixed.
Beach, Brian, Ryan Brown, Joseph Ferrie, et al. 2022. "Reevaluating the Long-Term Impact of In Utero Exposure to the 1918 Influenza Pandemic." Journal of Political Economy 130(7): 1963-1990.
University of Chicago Press
Journal of Political Economy