MPIDR Working Paper

Look at your old men dying: long-run effect of civil war on mortality

Myrskylä, M., Santavirta, T.
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2023-045, 42 pages.
Rostock, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (November 2023)
Revised November 2023
Open Access


We study the long-run effect of early adulthood prison camp exposure on mortality using an examiner design and data on 6,961 former prisoners during the Finnish Civil War of 1918. Our descriptive analysis shows a statistically significant adverse association and a dose response between prison sentence length and old-age mortality. Our instrumental variable design exploits the variation in judge sentence tendency across quasi-randomly assigned judges. We document an effect of sentence length on old-age mortality that is five times larger than the estimated associations. We show that our causal estimates have a local average treatment effect interpretation for the compliers.

Keywords: Civil war, Ageing, Mortality, Examiner design

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