The effects of early life conditions on female later life outcomes

Luciana Quaranta, Lund University
Tommy Bengtsson, Lund University

The importance of early life conditions for health in later life has been known for many years. Recent developments in modelling techniques have given rise to a series of in-depth studies which have focused, amongst other things, on educational attainment, labour market outcomes, adult health, the incidence of particular diseases and old-age mortality. This paper poses particular emphasis on the life course of the woman, which has not received much attention in previous literature. In this work early life characteristics include socioeconomic factors as well as exposure to diseases in first year of life measured as deviations from the trend in infant mortality rates, following the hypothesis that exposure to infections during the first year of life has scarring effects on the individual, compromising his or her later life outcomes. We measure the effect of these characteristics on mortality at various stages of life, age at marriage, first birth and last birth and on the chances of achieving a high socioeconomic position. The source material used for this work is the Scanian Demographic Database, which is based on family reconstitutions from church records on births, deaths and marriages for five rural parishes. Occupational information from poll-tax registers and census information will also be employed. The study will cover the years 1813 to 1968.

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Presented in Session 85: Historical epidemiology