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Effrosyni (Efi) ADAMOPOULOU - University of Mannheim and Bank of Italy

Efi Adamopoulou (University of Mannheim and Bank of Italy) will present "The Role of Early Life Experiences and Intergenerational Transmission", joint work with Elisabetta Olivieri (Bank of Italy) and Eleftheria Triviza (University of Mannheim).

Abstract :
This study explores the long-run effects of a temporary fall in food availability during childhood on eating habits and food consumption in later life using hand collected historical data on the decrease in livestock during World War II and microdata for adults from Italian household surveys. By exploiting cohort and regional variation in a difference-in-differences estimation and controlling for the effects of the war, we show that individuals that as children were more exposed to meat scarcity tend to consume more meat during late adulthood and have higher weight and BMI than less exposed individuals. The effects are larger for women and persist intergenerationally as the adult children of mothers who have experienced meat scarcity also tend to overconsume meat. Our results point towards a behavioral channel from early-life shocks to adult health and eating habits that we illustrate through a theoretical model of reference dependence and taste formation.