Hannes Schwandt

Assistant Professor of Human Development and Social Policy | IPR Fellow (on leave, 2018–19)


Biography

Economist Hannes Schwandt’s research agenda lies at the intersection of health economics, labor economics, and economic demography and focuses on the role of health in determining economic inequality. As an economic input to education, productivity, and wellbeing, health is an important determinant of inequality. At the same time, health is an output of an individual’s economic situation, the environment, and macroeconomic conditions—factors that can be addressed by public policy. In one line of research, Schwandt looks at macroeconomic shocks, such as stock market fluctuations, unemployment, and trade shocks, and explores their impact on health, human capital, and fertility. In a second branch of research, he focuses on the first years of life, including in utero. In particular, he investigates how environmental and institutional factors impair the health trajectories of children, and how they can be addressed by policies.

Schwandt’s research has been published in Science, American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the Journal of Human Resources, and the Harvard Business Review. His work has been featured in media outlets including the New York Times, Economist, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, NPR, and the Washington Post. His research has been supported by the Value of Vaccination Network and the Danish Research Council. Schwandt is a research fellow at the Institute of Labor Economics (IZA) and an affiliate of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).

Current Research

The Lasting Legacy of Seasonal Influenza. Pregnancy conditions have been shown to matter for later economic success, but many threats to fetal development that have been identified are difficult to prevent. Schwandt studies seasonal influenza, a common and preventable illness that comes around every year and causes strong inflammatory responses in pregnant women. Using administrative data from Denmark, he identifies the effects of mothers who had influenza while pregnant on their children. He finds maternal influenza leads to a doubling of prematurity and low birth weight and to effects on labor market success into adulthood. His research provides evidence that strong infections during pregnancy are an overlooked prenatal threat with long-term consequences.

How Unfavorable Conditions at Labor Market Entry Affect Long-Run Labor Market Outcomes and Health. Schwandt and his co-author study the persistent affect of initial labor market conditions for labor market entrants in the United States on earnings, receipt of government support, and mortality by education, gender, and race groups. They find long-lasting adverse effects that are larger for workers without a college degree and nonwhites. While these effects are partly offset by increases in the receipt of food stamps for the least advantaged, they find persistent increases in poverty. Mortality is increased, but only later in life, suggesting an unlucky start still has adverse effects once earnings and wage losses have faded.

Selected Publications

Schwandt, H. (Forthcoming). Wealth shocks and health outcomes: Evidence from stock market fluctuations. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Pei, Z., J. Pischke, and H. Schwandt. (Forthcoming). Poorly measured confounders are more useful on the left than on the right. Journal of Business and Economic Statistics.

Currie, J., and H. Schwandt. 2016. Inequality in mortality decreased among the young while increasing for older adults, 1990–2010. Science 352(6286): 708–12. 

Currie, J., and H. Schwandt. 2016. Mortality inequality: The good news from a county-level approach. Journal of Economic Perspectives 30(2): 29–52. 

Schwandt, H., and A. Wuppermann. 2016. The youngest get the pill: ADHD misdiagnosis in Germany, its regional correlates and international comparison. Labour Economics 43: 72–86.

Currie, J., and H. Schwandt. 2016. The 9/11 dust cloud and pregnancy outcomes: A reconsideration. Journal of Human Resources 51(4): 805–31. 

Schwandt, H. 2016. Unmet aspirations as an explanation for the age U-shape in wellbeing. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 122: 75–87.

Brueckner, M., and H. Schwandt. 2015. Income and population growth. Economic Journal 125: 1653–76.

Currie, J., and H. Schwandt. 2014. Short- and long-term effects of unemployment on fertility. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111(41): 14734–39. 

Currie, J., and H. Schwandt. 2013. Within-mother analysis of seasonal patterns in health at birth. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110(30): 12265–70.