Project #1 - Intergenerational Processes and Aging of White Americans Intergenerational processes affect aging and longevity through genetics, epigenetic changes in genes arising from environmental stressors, investments parents make in their children, the attitudes or behaviors they impart to their children, and the neighborhoods in which they live. Intergenerational databases provide a way to understand the mechanisms of intergenerational transmission, but few databases provide information on major stressful events and control groups for such events. This project will create an intergenerational database to elucidate the causal mechanisms of intergenerational transmission and will study the transmission of stressful events from parents to children.
Aim 1 : Create public use samples of the children of 1,882 veterans who were POWs and who survived to 1900 and children of 8,500 non-POW veterans who survived to 1900.
Aim 2 : Create inferred variables for education and socioeconomic standing from census sources for use in the analyses and make these variables publicly available.
Aim 3 : Investigate the impact on children's later life longevity of own early life experiences and paternal POW status, combat stress and war time health shocks, and early life experiences, as well as paternal and maternal longevity.
Aim 4 : Examine whether paternal stress affects child longevity through effects of stress on paternal socioeconomic status and child education and whether early childhood stress affects longevity through effects on own socioeconomic status and education.
Aim 5 : Examine the choice for children and their elderly parents between co-residence, separate nearby households, and separate distant households and the determinants of this choice.
Aim 6 (discussed in Project #2): Examine differences in intergenerational mobility and the intergenerational transmission of longevity and socioeconomic status by race and in residential choices.
Aim 7 (discussed in Project #3): Examine the effects of father's wartime stress on children's later socio- economic and longevity outcomes by comparing the children of veterans with those of non-veterans.

Public Health Relevance

The intergenerational database created in this project will elucidate the mechanisms of the transmission of longevity and socioeconomic status from parent to child with a particular emphasis on the transmission of combat and POW stress. By understanding how intergenerational processes affect aging and longevity we can better predict future aging and longevity trends and make more informed interventions.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Research Program Projects (P01)
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National Bureau of Economic Research
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Costa, Dora L (2014) Leaders: Privilege, Sacrifice, Opportunity, and Personnel Economics in the American Civil War. J Law Econ Organ 30:437-462
Fogel, Robert W; Cain, Louis; Burton, Joseph et al. (2013) Was what ail'd ya what kill'd ya? Econ Hum Biol 11:269-80
Costa, Dora L; Kahn, Matthew E (2010) Health, wartime stress, and unit cohesion: evidence from Union Army veterans. Demography 47:45-66
Wilson, Sven E (2010) Prejudice & policy: racial discrimination in the Union Army disability pension system, 1865-1906. Am J Public Health 100 Suppl 1:S56-65
Costa, Dora L (2010) Pensions and Retirement Among Black Union Army Veterans. J Econ Hist 70:567-592
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Cain, Louis; Hong, Sok Chul (2009) Survival in 19th Century Cities: The Larger the City, the Smaller Your Chances. Explor Econ Hist 46:450-463
Noymer, Andrew (2009) Testing the influenza-tuberculosis selective mortality hypothesis with Union Army data. Soc Sci Med 68:1599-608
Logan, Trevon D (2009) Health, Human Capital, and African American Migration Before 1910. Explor Econ Hist 46:169-185

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