A new paper published ONLINE FIRST OPEN ACCESS in the Journal of Population Economics presents evidence to support the hypothesis that personal growth and life appreciation emerge after traumatic events, thereby leading to optimistic perceptions of longevity.
by Bruno Arpino, Pierluigi Conzo & Francesco Salustri
Author Abstract: Life-course studies have shown that early-life conditions predict health and socio-economic status in adult life. This study analyzes whether experiencing a traumatic event in childhood, i.e., the Second World War (WW2), affects subjective survival probabilities (SSPs). We rely on a representative sample of European adults who were differentially exposed to WW2 during childhood as a result of their date and place of birth. Results show that exposure to WW2 increases SSPs, with socio-economic and health characteristics not playing a mediating role. War exposure also counterbalances the adverse effects of health impairments on SSPs, but it does not affect health outcomes per se. This fact, jointly with low mortality rates of the cohort under investigation, suggests that selective mortality and post-traumatic stress are not the main channels. Instead, the results support the hypothesis that personal growth and life appreciation emerge after traumatic events, thereby leading to optimistic perceptions of longevity.
Journal of Population Economics
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