Sharygin, Ethan (2010). Stunting and selection effects of famine: a case study in Russia.
The effect of early life circumstances on the health of cohorts has been a core literature to demographic research. In a dataset spanning the early period of the Russian economic transition (1992-1994), this paper examines the role of exogenous variation in cohort exp osure to elevated mortality rates in early life on outcomes at ages over 60. Using detailed mortality series for three years before, during, and after a major famine in the 1930s, the effects of mortality exposure signficantly predict stunting and reduced self-rated health. Famine cohorts were on average 1-3cm shorter, depending on the level that the mortality rate over the period spent in utero exceeded the average pre-famine mortality rate.