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Height, aging and cognitive abilities across Europe

Guven, Cahit and Lee, Wang-Sheng 2015, Height, aging and cognitive abilities across Europe, Economics and human biology, vol. 16, pp. 16-29, doi: 10.1016/j.ehb.2013.12.005.

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Title Height, aging and cognitive abilities across Europe
Author(s) Guven, CahitORCID iD for Guven, Cahit
Lee, Wang-ShengORCID iD for Lee, Wang-Sheng
Journal name Economics and human biology
Volume number 16
Start page 16
End page 29
Total pages 14
Publisher Elsevier
Place of publication Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Publication date 2015-01-01
ISSN 1873-6130
Keyword(s) aging
cognitive abilities
early life conditions
infant mortality
Summary Previous research has found that as a marker of childhood circumstances, height is correlated with cognitive functioning at older ages. Using data from the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) and about 17,000 respondents from 11 countries, we find that height is positively and significantly associated with cognitive functioning in later life despite controlling for a myriad of possible confounding factors. A 10 cm increase in height is associated with a 0.04 standard deviation increase in a summary cognitive score (mean 0.02, std. dev. 0.77). We find that being born in a country where the infant mortality rate at the time of birth is high has a negative and significant influence on cognitive functioning in later life. A 10% increase in the infant mortality rate is associated with a 0.1 standard deviation decrease in the summary cognitive score. We also find some evidence that height serves as a protective factor against age related deterioration in cognitive functioning. For persons of average stature, age related decreases in cognition scores are 3–5 percentage points smaller if they move up a quartile in the height distribution. Our results also suggest that there is a significant positive association between height and cognitive abilities across countries for this pre-1950 birth cohort of respondents, with correlations ranging from 0.4 to 0.8.
Language eng
DOI 10.1016/j.ehb.2013.12.005
Field of Research 140208 Health Economics
Socio Economic Objective 910202 Human Capital Issues
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2014, Elsevier
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Document type: Journal Article
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School of Accounting, Economics and Finance
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Created: Thu, 01 May 2014, 12:56:03 EST by Katrina Fleming

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