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Early life origins of health and well-being in modern Sweden

Dekhtyar, Serhiy LU (2013) In Lund Studies in Economic History 62.
Abstract (Swedish)
Popular Abstract in English

The aim of this thesis is to examine the role of early life environments for a variety of individual-level health and socioeconomic outcomes in contemporary Sweden. A research framework has recently emerged suggesting that individual long-term wellbeing is, to a large extent, dependent on the establishment of a healthy trajectory of growth and development during the early moments of life. This developmental paradigm is utilized in the thesis in order to explain individual differences in trajectories of intergenerational income mobility, entry into motherhood, childhood cognitive ability, life-time occupational attainment and, finally, late-life dementia risk, using data for contemporary... (More)
Popular Abstract in English

The aim of this thesis is to examine the role of early life environments for a variety of individual-level health and socioeconomic outcomes in contemporary Sweden. A research framework has recently emerged suggesting that individual long-term wellbeing is, to a large extent, dependent on the establishment of a healthy trajectory of growth and development during the early moments of life. This developmental paradigm is utilized in the thesis in order to explain individual differences in trajectories of intergenerational income mobility, entry into motherhood, childhood cognitive ability, life-time occupational attainment and, finally, late-life dementia risk, using data for contemporary Sweden.



With respect to intergenerational mobility, it is shown that children born into unfavourable health environments report lower life-time earnings relative to their fathers. Similar types of exposure lower the hazard of transitioning into motherhood among contemporary Swedish women. Dementia risk is elevated among individuals with lower childhood cognitive ability, irrespective of their later-life improvements in terms of occupational attainment. Finally, compromised fetal brain development not only lowers elementary school performance, but also negatively affects long-run career prospects both directly and indirectly. The findings of this dissertation suggest that exposures interfering with optimal health development early in life indeed have implications for the long-run individual well-being in contemporary Sweden. (Less)
Abstract
The aim of this thesis is to examine the role of early life environments for a variety of individual-level health and socioeconomic outcomes in contemporary Sweden. Ever-expanding human lifespans have contributed to the emergence of novel socio-health phenomena confronting contemporary Swedish society. A new research framework has emerged in the last 30 years suggesting that individuals’ ability to leverage these phenomena into quality life experiences to a large extent depends on how individual lives evolve from the early moments after conception. This developmental paradigm is utilized in the thesis in order to explain individual differences in trajectories of intergenerational income mobility, entry into motherhood, childhood cognitive... (More)
The aim of this thesis is to examine the role of early life environments for a variety of individual-level health and socioeconomic outcomes in contemporary Sweden. Ever-expanding human lifespans have contributed to the emergence of novel socio-health phenomena confronting contemporary Swedish society. A new research framework has emerged in the last 30 years suggesting that individuals’ ability to leverage these phenomena into quality life experiences to a large extent depends on how individual lives evolve from the early moments after conception. This developmental paradigm is utilized in the thesis in order to explain individual differences in trajectories of intergenerational income mobility, entry into motherhood, childhood cognitive ability and life-time occupational attainment and, finally, late-life dementia risk, using data for contemporary Sweden.



The relative importance of developmental effects for a variety of long-term outcomes is truly non-trivial. It was shown here that in some cases, detrimental effects of early disadvantage could be offset by favorable subsequent environments. This was demonstrated in the analysis of intergenerational income mobility, when richer fathers diverted some of their resources to compensate for the unfavorable offspring starts. In other cases, however, depleted capacity in early life could have irreversible long-run effects. This was illuminated in the life-course study of dementia, when subsequent investments in intellectual activities did not compensate for reduced cognitive ability early in life. A similar conclusion was drawn from the study on the relationship between fetal brain development, childhood cognition, and life-time occupational attainment, whereby inadequate in-utero brain development simultaneously affected the prerequisites for, as well as the outcomes of, human capital. Finally, even mild early exposure regimes were shown to have long-run implications for well-being, as was reported in the study on the effects of exogenously-determined health environments on entry into mothergood.



Together, these findings indicate that while the trajectory of growth and development is set from the early moments of development, it is also affected by subsequent experiences. The optimum scenario, however, is the one where favorable starts are matched by favorable follow-up environments throughout the entire life-course. In conclusion, this dissertation indicates that early developmental effects are to a significant extent involved in the shaping of long-run health and well-being in contemporary Sweden. (Less)
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author
supervisor
opponent
  • Myrskylä, Mikko, Department of Social Policy. London School of Economics and Political Science
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Economic history, demography, health, developmental origins, early life hypothesis, Barker hypothesis, life course, intergenerational mobility, entry into motherhood, childhood cognitive ability, dementia, 20th century Sweden, register data
in
Lund Studies in Economic History
volume
62
pages
172 pages
publisher
Department of Economic History, Lund University
defense location
EC3: 211
defense date
2013-11-01 10:15
ISSN
1400-4860
ISBN
978-91-7473-696-0 (pdf)
978-91-7473-695-3 (print)
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
f8d587f6-23ca-4ca1-ba93-b13e920324e8 (old id 4076964)
date added to LUP
2013-10-09 14:42:40
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:44:48
@phdthesis{f8d587f6-23ca-4ca1-ba93-b13e920324e8,
  abstract     = {The aim of this thesis is to examine the role of early life environments for a variety of individual-level health and socioeconomic outcomes in contemporary Sweden. Ever-expanding human lifespans have contributed to the emergence of novel socio-health phenomena confronting contemporary Swedish society. A new research framework has emerged in the last 30 years suggesting that individuals’ ability to leverage these phenomena into quality life experiences to a large extent depends on how individual lives evolve from the early moments after conception. This developmental paradigm is utilized in the thesis in order to explain individual differences in trajectories of intergenerational income mobility, entry into motherhood, childhood cognitive ability and life-time occupational attainment and, finally, late-life dementia risk, using data for contemporary Sweden.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
The relative importance of developmental effects for a variety of long-term outcomes is truly non-trivial. It was shown here that in some cases, detrimental effects of early disadvantage could be offset by favorable subsequent environments. This was demonstrated in the analysis of intergenerational income mobility, when richer fathers diverted some of their resources to compensate for the unfavorable offspring starts. In other cases, however, depleted capacity in early life could have irreversible long-run effects. This was illuminated in the life-course study of dementia, when subsequent investments in intellectual activities did not compensate for reduced cognitive ability early in life. A similar conclusion was drawn from the study on the relationship between fetal brain development, childhood cognition, and life-time occupational attainment, whereby inadequate in-utero brain development simultaneously affected the prerequisites for, as well as the outcomes of, human capital. Finally, even mild early exposure regimes were shown to have long-run implications for well-being, as was reported in the study on the effects of exogenously-determined health environments on entry into mothergood.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
Together, these findings indicate that while the trajectory of growth and development is set from the early moments of development, it is also affected by subsequent experiences. The optimum scenario, however, is the one where favorable starts are matched by favorable follow-up environments throughout the entire life-course. In conclusion, this dissertation indicates that early developmental effects are to a significant extent involved in the shaping of long-run health and well-being in contemporary Sweden.},
  author       = {Dekhtyar, Serhiy},
  isbn         = {978-91-7473-696-0 (pdf)},
  issn         = {1400-4860},
  keyword      = {Economic history,demography,health,developmental origins,early life hypothesis,Barker hypothesis,life course,intergenerational mobility,entry into motherhood,childhood cognitive ability,dementia,20th century Sweden,register data},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {172},
  publisher    = {Department of Economic History, Lund University},
  school       = {Lund University},
  series       = {Lund Studies in Economic History},
  title        = {Early life origins of health and well-being in modern Sweden},
  volume       = {62},
  year         = {2013},
}