Wartime Health Shocks and the Postwar Socioeconomic Status and Mortality of Union Army Veterans and their Children

from Journal of Health Economics at http://bit.ly/37gTYSH on December 29, 2019 at 01:48PM

Publication date: Available online 28 December 2019

Source: Journal of Health Economics

Author(s): Dora L. Costa, Noelle Yetter, Heather DeSomer


We investigate when and how health shocks reverberate across the life cycle and down to descendants in a manual labor economy by examining the association of war wounds with the socioeconomic status and older age mortality of US Civil War (1861-5) veterans and of their adult children. Younger veterans who had been severely wounded in the war left the farm sector, becoming laborers. Consistent with human capital and job matching models, older severely wounded men were unlikely to switch sectors and their wealth declined by 37-46%. War wounds were correlated with children’s socioeconomic and mortality outcomes in ways dependent on sex and paternal age group.