Mortality Patterns during Crises: Are They Different from Patterns during Normal Years? Evidence from 19th Century Sweden

Göran R. A. Broström, Umea University
Tommy Bengtsson, Lund University

Environmental conditions had a strong impact on mortality in the past. Parents were of outmost importance to the health of their children, since extra-familial resources were few and inadequate. Mortality in some years was far higher than in other years, and such crises years sometimes succeeded each other. The role of each of these factors is, however, somewhat unclear since they might not only influence mortality directly, but also indirectly. And they might influence mortality during crises years differently from other years. Mortality patterns during different regimes are compared on data from 19th century Sweden, one area in the south of Sweden and one area in northern Sweden. The potential presence of indirect effects introduces methodological problems concerning causality interpretations and bias. Methods for causal analysis of event history data are discussed and implemented. Preliminary results indicate that mortality patterns indeed are different during crises and direct effects are dominating.

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Presented in Session 126: Historical Mortality Patterns