Scientific article
Open access

Investigating survivorship bias: the case of the 1918 flu pandemic

Published inApplied economics letters, p. 1-6
First online date2021-09-10

Estimates of the effect of foetal health shocks may suffer from survivorship bias. The foetal origins literature seemingly agrees that survivorship bias is innocuous in the sense that it induces a bias towards zero. Arguably, however, selective mortality can imply a bias away from zero. In the case of the 1918 flu pandemic, a suppressed immune system may have been protective against the most severe consequences of infection. We use historical birth records from the maternity hospital of Bern, Switzerland, to evaluate this possibility. Our results suggest that a careful consideration of survivorship bias is imperative for the evaluation of the 1918 flu pandemic and other foetal health shocks.

  • Survivorship bias
  • Foetal origins
  • 1918 flu pandemic
Citation (ISO format)
FLORIS, Joël et al. Investigating survivorship bias: the case of the 1918 flu pandemic. In: Applied economics letters, 2021, p. 1–6. doi: 10.1080/13504851.2021.1971614
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1350-4851

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