Nutrition, Health, and Human Capital Development: Evidence from South Korea, 1946–1977

Philippines Conference Room
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  • Chulhee Lee

The major objectives of this paper are: 1) to investigate how local nutritional availability in early childhood and in adolescence affected health and human capital development; 2) to explore if improved nutrition in adolescence could mitigate the negative effects of early-life exposure to negative health shocks generated by the Korean War; and 3) to understand how increased nutritional supply contributed to the improvement in health in South Korea from 1946 to 1977.

chulhee lee photo4x6
Chulhee Lee is professor of economics at Seoul National University. After receiving his doctoral degree from University of Chicago in 1996, he taught at SUNY Binghamton before he returned to Seoul in 1998. His major research topics are economic status and labor-market behaviors of older persons; and interactions of ecological environment, socioeconomic status, and health over the life course. Lee has been involved with the management of the NIH-funded Early Indicators project since 2001 as project leader and senior investigator, which constructed and analyzed longitudinal data on Union Army soldiers. He has also participated in various projects of creating and studying new data in Korea, such as the Korea Longitudinal Study of Aging (KLOSA), the panel data on the Korean Health Insurance, and the sample of military records in Korea. Lee’s research on the health and retirement of US Civil War soldiers has been published in American Economic Review (1998), Journal of Economic History (1998, 2002, 2005, 2008), Explorations in Economic History (1997, 1998, 2007, 2012), and Social Science History (1999, 2005, 2009, 2015). He has also published paper on retirement of Koreans in Economic Development and Cultural Change (2007) and Journal of Population Ageing (2013). His recent work on the effects of in-utero exposure to the Korean War, recessions, and the 1980 Kwangju uprising appeared in Journal of Health Economics (2014), Social Science and Medicine (2014), Health Economics (2017), and Asian Population Studies (2017).