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      Childhood Circumstances and Adult Outcomes: Act II

      1 , 2 , 3
      Journal of Economic Literature
      American Economic Association

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          In utero programming of chronic disease.

          1. Many human fetuses have to adapt to a limited supply of nutrients. In doing so they permanently change their structure and metabolism. 2. These 'programmed' changes may be the origins of a number of diseases in later life, including coronary heart disease and the related disorders stroke, diabetes and hypertension. 3. This review examines the evidence linking these diseases to fetal undernutrition and provides an overview of previous studies in this area.
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            Understanding the Mechanisms Through Which an Influential Early Childhood Program Boosted Adult Outcomes.

            A growing literature establishes that high quality early childhood interventions targeted toward disadvantaged children have substantial impacts on later life outcomes. Little is known about the mechanisms producing these impacts. This paper uses longitudinal data on cognitive and personality traits from an experimental evaluation of the influential Perry Preschool program to analyze the channels through which the program boosted both male and female participant outcomes. Experimentally induced changes in personality traits explain a sizable portion of adult treatment effects.
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              Disease and Development: Evidence from Hookworm Eradication in the American South.

              This study evaluates the economic consequences of the successful eradication of hookworm disease from the American South. The hookworm-eradication campaign (c. 1910) began soon after (i) the discovery that a variety of health problems among Southerners could be attributed to the disease and (ii) the donation by John D. Rockefeller of a substantial sum to the effort. The Rockefeller Sanitary Commission (RSC) surveyed infection rates in the affected areas (eleven southern states) and found that an average of forty percent of school-aged children were infected with hookworm. The RSC then sponsored treatment and education campaigns across the region. Follow-up studies indicate that this campaign substantially reduced hookworm disease almost immediately. The sudden introduction of this treatment combines with the cross-area differences in pre-treatment infection rates to form the basis of the identification strategy. Areas with higher levels of hookworm infection prior to the RSC experienced greater increases in school enrollment, attendance, and literacy after the intervention. This result is robust to controlling for a variety of alternative factors, including differential trends across areas, changing crop prices, shifts in certain educational and health policies, and the effect of malaria eradication. No significant contemporaneous results are found for adults, who should have benefited less from the intervention owing to their substantially lower (prior) infection rates. A long-term follow-up of affected cohorts indicates a substantial gain in income that coincided with exposure to hookworm eradication. I also find evidence that eradication increased the return to schooling.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Journal of Economic Literature
                Journal of Economic Literature
                American Economic Association
                0022-0515
                December 2018
                December 2018
                : 56
                : 4
                : 1360-1446
                Affiliations
                [1 ] Columbia University and NBER.
                [2 ] Princeton University and NBER.
                [3 ] University of Michigan.
                Article
                10.1257/jel.20171164
                166e0821-6084-4715-a35f-4c20af42ed0f
                © 2018
                History

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