Cemmap Working Paper (CWP22/08)

Does a pint a day affect your child's pay? The effect of prenatal alcohol exposure on adult outcomes

Date: 12 August 2008
DOI: 10.1920/wp.cem.2008.2208

This paper utilizes a Swedish alcohol policy experiment conducted in the late 1960s to identify the impact of prenatal alcohol exposure on educational attainments and labor market outcomes. The experiment started in November 1967 and was prematurely discontinued in July 1968 due to a sharp increase in alcohol consumption in the experimental regions, particularly among youths. Using a difference-in-difference-in-differences estimation strategy we find that around the age of 30 the cohort in utero during the experiment has substantially reduced educational attainments, lower earnings and higher welfare dependency rates compared to the surrounding cohorts. The results indicate that investments in early-life health have far-reaching effects on economic outcomes in later life.