Cohort Studies (CS)
Dora Costa, Director
The NBER's Working Group on Cohort Studies (CS) investigates changes in well-being across generations, with a strong focus on health. The premise of this Working Group is that each generation is marked by particular lifetime experiences that affect it throughout the life-cycle and that are transmitted to its children either through social conditioning or, in the case of some health conditions, through direct biological mechanisms. To understand the present, we therefore need to look not only at early life conditions but also at the experience of previous generations. This requires the creation of new longitudinal datasets that cover the entire twentieth century, because many of the dramatic changes in life expectancy, health, and leisure as well as the consumer goods revolution occurred during the first half of the twentieth century. Assessing the importance of these changes in turn requires quantification of the contribution of non-market goods to the national income accounts. The Group's members thus are specialists in economic history, family economics, health economics, and productivity. Many of the Group's members also are closely involved with Robert Fogel's P01 Early Indicators of Later Work Levels, Disease, and Death, which is creating longitudinal micro-level data on the first generations to reach age 65 at the beginning of the twentieth century.