Ruhr Economic Papers

Ruhr Economic Papers #504

Life Expectancy and Mother-Baby Interventions. Evidence from A Historical Trial

by Sonia Bhalotra, Martin Karlsson and Therese Nilsson

UDE, 09/2014, 51 S./p., 8 Euro, ISBN 978-3-86788-578-2 DOI: 10.4419/86788578

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Abstract

This paper investigates the potential of an infant intervention to improve life expectancy, contributing to emerging interest in the early life origins of chronic disease. We analyse a pioneering program trialled in Sweden in the 1930s, which provided information, support and monitoring of infant care. Using birth certicate data from parish records matched to death registers, we estimate that the average duration of program exposure in infancy led to a 1.54% point decline in the risk of infant death (23% of baseline risk)
and a 2.37% decline in the risk of dying by age 75 (6.5% of baseline risk).

JEL-Classification: I15, I18, H41

Keywords: Maternal care; infant care; early life interventions; barker hypothesis; program evaluation; Sweden

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