Journal Article

Were there long-term economic effects of exposure to polio vaccination? An analysis of migrants to Sweden 1946–2003

SSM-Population Health, 11:100589, 1–10 (2020)
Open Access

Abstract

Recent research showed that exposure to the vaccine against polio in early life had no long-term economic benefits among native Swedes. However, whether this result holds for individuals from other countries remains unexplored. This study explores the relationship between exposure to the vaccine and later-life outcomes, but focuses on individuals who migrated to Sweden (birth cohorts 1946–1971), and constitute a diverse sample in terms of national origin. Using a differences-in-differences approach and register data from the Swedish Longitudinal Immigrant Database, this study explores if being exposed to the vaccine against polio in the year of birth in the country of origin has any impact on adult income, educational achievement, or days or number of hospitalizations. The results are in line with the previous research in showing that there are no statistically significant effects on adult income, education, or health from exposure to the vaccine against polio, regardless of national origin. Furthermore, no scarring effects of exposure to polio epidemics were found on any of the outcomes, reinforcing the hypothesis that polio did not scar individuals in the same way as other contemporary epidemic diseases did, and that the lack of scarring could explain the absence of long-term impact from vaccine exposure.

Keywords: Sweden, education, income, migration, poliomyelitis, vaccination
The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.