Mortality Selection in the First Three Months of Life and Survival in the following Thirty-Three Months in Rural Veneto (North-East Italy) from 1816 to 1835

Leonardo Piccione, Università di Padova
Gianpiero Dalla Zuanna, Università di Padova
Alessandra Minello, Università Bocconi

A number of studies have examined the influence of life conditions in infancy (and pregnancy) on mortality risks in adulthood or old age. For those individuals who survived difficult life conditions, some scholars have found a prevalence of positive selection, while others have observed the prevalence of a so-called scar-effect. Using micro-data characeterized by broad internal mortality differences before the demographic transition (forty parishes within the region of Veneto, North-East Italy, 1816-35), we aim to understand whether children who survived high mortality risks during the first three months of life had a higher or a lower probability of surviving during the following 33 months. Using a Cox regression, we model the risk of dying during the period of 3-35 months of age, considering mortality level survived at age 0-2 months of age as the main explanatory variable. We show that positive selection prevailed, in a sort of homeostatic mechanism.

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Presented in Session 36: Evolutionary Models of Health and Mortality