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The Intergenerational Transmission of Health in Early Childhood: Evidence from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study

Referierte Aufsätze Web of Science

Katja Coneus, C. Katharina Spieß

In: Economics and Human Biology 10 (2012), 1, S. 89-97


Children's physical health problems have clear and lasting impacts on a variety of later life outcomes, as a growing body of research has shown. Furthermore, problems such as obesity, motor impairment, and chronic diseases entail high social costs, particularly when childhood health problems carry over into adulthood. This study examines intergenerational relationships between parent and child health based on data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), in particular the recently introduced Mother and Child Questionnaires. Using various health measures, including anthropometric measures, information on health disorders, and "self-rated" health measures, we find significant relationships between parental and child health during the first three years of life. Overall, our results suggest that when controlling for parental income, education, and family composition, parents with poor health are more likely to have children with poor health. However, there are significant differences between health measures and age groups. For some health measures, our results suggest an increasing health gradient by age.

Topics: Health, Family

JEL-Classification: I1;I12;J13
Keywords: Intergenerational transmission, Child health, Parental health, Early childhood