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Essays on Childhood Conditions and Adult Economic and Health Outcomes

Saavedra, Martin (2014) Essays on Childhood Conditions and Adult Economic and Health Outcomes. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation includes four essays on how childhood interventions affected adult labor market and health disparities. The first chapter investigates how early childhood environment affects longevity by examining the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II as a natural experiment. Using the roster of internees linked to death records in the Social Security Death Index, I find that those who were incarcerated within internment camps during the first four years of life died approximately two years earlier. The effect is larger for those from low socioeconomic status families and those incarcerated in colder climates. I also find that those incarcerated during early childhood were more likely to die of circulatory disease. The second chapter of my dissertation examines how school quality within Japanese American internment camps affected adult educational attainment and labor market outcomes. Using data pooled from the 1980, 1990, and 2000 Censuses, I find that those who were incarcerated during school age were less likely to achieve collegiate or post-collegiate education, and had lower returns to education. The third chapter examines the long-run effects of early-life yellow fever exposure on adult occupational outcomes. Using data from the 100 percent sample of the 1880 Census, I find that those born during yellow fever epidemics were less like to become professionals and more likely to become unskilled laborers. This effect is larger for the children of immigrant mothers, who were more likely to contract yellow fever than natives were. Low birth weight children are earn less and become less educated as adults. The last chapter examines whether the negative effects of low birth weight are mitigated by socioeconomic status. This chapter uses a unique data set of Korean adoptees who were quasi-randomly assigned to families and finds that neighborhood characteristics mitigate the negative effects of low birth weight, whereas family characteristics do not.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Saavedra, Martinmhs33@pitt.eduMHS33
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee CoChairTroesken, Wernertroesken@pitt.eduTROESKEN
Committee CoChairWalsh, Randallwalshr@pitt.eduWALSHR
Committee MemberShertzer, Allisonshertzer@pitt.eduSHERTZER
Committee MemberRichards-Shubik,
Date: 29 May 2014
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 9 April 2014
Approval Date: 29 May 2014
Submission Date: 9 April 2014
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 127
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Economics
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Japanese American internment, yellow fever, low birth weight, War Relocation Authority, longevity, labor market outcomes
Date Deposited: 29 May 2014 23:53
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:19


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