Heather DeSomer

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Vienna, VA 22181

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Institutional Affiliation: NBER

NBER Working Papers and Publications

January 2019Wartime Health Shocks and the Postwar Socioeconomic Status and Mortality of Union Army Veterans and their Children
with Dora Costa, Noelle Yetter: w25480
We investigate when and how health shocks reverberate across the life cycle and down to descendants in a manual labor economy by examining the association of war wounds with the socioeconomic status and older age mortality of US CivilWar (1861-5) veterans and of their adult children. Younger veterans who had been severely wounded in the war left the farm sector, becoming laborers. Consistent with human capital and job matching models, older severely wounded men were unlikely to switch sectors and their wealth declined by 37-46%. War wounds were correlated with children’s socioeconomic and mortality outcomes in ways dependent on sex and paternal age group.

Published: Dora L. Costa & Noelle Yetter & Heather DeSomer, 2019. "Wartime Health Shocks and the Postwar Socioeconomic Status and Mortality of Union Army Veterans and their Children," Journal of Health Economics, .

August 2016Union Army Veterans, All Grown Up
with Dora L. Costa, Eric Hanss, Christopher Roudiez, Sven E. Wilson, Noelle Yetter: w22497
This paper overviews the research opportunities made possible by a NIA-funded program project, Early Indicators, Intergenerational Processes, and Aging. Data collection began almost three decades ago on 40,000 soldiers from the Union Army in the US Civil War. The sample contains extensive demographic, economic, and medical data from childhood to death. In recent years, a large sample of African-American soldiers and an oversampling of soldiers from major US cities have been added. Hundreds of historical maps containing public health data have been geocoded to place soldiers and their family members in a geospatial context. With newly granted funding, thousands of veterans will be linked to the demographic information available from the census and vital records of their children.

Published: Dora L. Costa & Heather DeSomer & Eric Hanss & Christopher Roudiez & Sven E. Wilson & Noelle Yetter, 2017. "Union Army veterans, all grown up," Historical Methods: A Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History, vol 50(2), pages 79-95. citation courtesy of

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