The Long-term Health Effects of Fetal Malnutrition: Evidence from the 1959-1961 China Great Leap Forward Famine.
The Dutch Hunger Winter (1944/45) is the most-studied famine in the literature on long-run effects of malnutrition in utero. Its temporal and spatial demarcations are clear, it was severe, it was not anticipated, and nutritional conditions in society were favorable and stable before and after the famine. This is the first study to analyze effects of in utero exposure on labor market outcomes and hospitalization late in life, and the first to use register data covering the full Dutch population to examine long-run effects of this famine. We provide results of famine exposure by sub-interval of gestation. We find a significantly negative effect of exposure during the first trimester of gestation on employment outcomes 53 or more years after birth. Hospitalization rates in the years before retirement are higher after middle or late gestational exposure.