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What is the health impact of catastrophic risks on survivors? We use a population exposed to severe famine conditions during infancy to document two opposing effects. The first: exposure leads to poor health into adulthood, a scarring effect. The second: survivors do not themselves suffer health consequences, a selection effect. Anthropometric evidence on over 21,000 subjects born before, during and after the Great Irish Famine (1845-52), among modern history’s most severe famines, suggests selection is strongest where mortality is highest. Individuals born in heavily-affected areas experienced no measurable stunted growth, while scarring was found among those born where excess mortality was low.
|Place of Publication||medRxiv|
|Publisher||Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press|
|Publication status||Published - Sep 2020|
|Name||QUCEH Working Paper Series|
|Publisher||Queen's University Belfast|
- catastrophic risk
- fetal origins hypothesis
- economic history
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