Empirical Economics

, Volume 47, Issue 4, pp 1251–1282 | Cite as

The associations between early life circumstances and later life health and employment in Europe

  • Manuel Flores
  • Adriaan Kalwij


We use data from the Survey of Health, Aging, and Retirement in Europe to estimate for thirteen European countries the associations of early life circumstances—measured by childhood health and socioeconomic status (SES)—with educational attainment, and later life health and employment (at ages 50–64). In all countries and for men and women, favorable early life circumstances, and in particular a higher childhood SES, are associated with a higher level of education. In most countries and in particular for women, favorable early life circumstances are associated with better later life health, also when education is controlled for. The significant associations of favorable early life circumstances with a higher incidence of later life employment are mostly transmitted through education and later life health.


Early life circumstances Health Employment SHARE 

JEL Classification

D00 I10 J10 J20 



The SHARE data collection has been primarily funded by the European Commission through the 5th Framework Program (project QLK6-CT-2001-00360 in the thematic program Quality of Life), through the 6th Framework Program (Projects SHARE-I3, RII-CT-2006-062193, COMPARE, CIT5- CT-2005-028857, and SHARELIFE, CIT4-CT-2006-028812), and through the 7th Framework Program (SHARE-PREP, No. 211909, SHARE-LEAP, No. 227822 and SHARE M4, No. 261982). Additional funding is also gratefully acknowledged from the U.S. National Institute on Aging (U01 AG09740-13S2, P01 AG005842, P01 AG08291, P30 AG12815, R21 AG025169, Y1-AG-4553-01, IAG BSR06-11 and OGHA 04-064) and the German Ministry of Education and Research, as well as from various national sources (see for a full list of funding institutions). The authors use release 2.5.0 of waves 1 and 2, release 1 of wave 3 (SHARELIFE), and release 1 of wave 4. The authors wish to thank Rob Alessie, Melchor Fernández, Courtney van Houtven, and the seminar participants at Utrecht University School of Economics, the 31st Jornadas de la Asociación de Economía de la Salud, the 9th Jornadas de la Asociación Española de Economía del Trabajo, the 3rd SHARE user conference, the 23rd conference of the European Association of Labor Economists, and the January 2012 International Pension Workshop of the Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, the associate editor and two anonymous referees for valuable comments and discussions. Manuel Flores gratefully acknowledges the financial support from Xunta de Galicia through its María Barbeito fellowship program, and the generous hospitality of Utrecht University School of Economics during the fall of 2010.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IDEGA-University of Santiago de CompostelaSantiago de CompostelaSpain
  2. 2.Utrecht University School of EconomicsUtrechtThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Tilburg University and Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement (Netspar)TilburgThe Netherlands

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