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Accounting for fetal origins: Health capital vs. health deficits

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  • Dalgaard, Carl-Johan
  • Hansen, Casper Worm
  • Strulik, Holger

Abstract

The fetal origins hypothesis has received considerable empirical support, both within epidemiology and economics. The present study compares the ability of two rival theoretical frameworks in accounting for the kind of path dependence implied by the fetal origins hypothesis. We argue that while the conventional health capital model is irreconcilable with fetal origins of late-in-life health outcomes, the more recent health deficit model can generate shock amplification consistent with the hypothesis. We also develop a theory of ontogenetic growth in utero and during childhood, unify it with the theory of adult aging, and discuss the transmission of early-life shocks to late-life health deficit accumulation.

Suggested Citation

  • Dalgaard, Carl-Johan & Hansen, Casper Worm & Strulik, Holger, 2019. "Accounting for fetal origins: Health capital vs. health deficits," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 385, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:cegedp:385
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Conti, Gabriella & Mason, Giacomo & Poupakis, Stavros, 2019. "Developmental Origins of Health Inequality," IZA Discussion Papers 12448, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Abeliansky, Ana Lucia & Strulik, Holger, 2018. "How season of birth affects health and aging," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 352, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    3. Abeliansky, Ana Lucia & Strulik, Holger, 2018. "Hungry children age faster," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 211-220.
    4. Strulik, Holger, 2019. "An economic theory of depression and its impact on health behavior and longevity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 269-287.
    5. Böhm, Sebastian & Grossmann, Volker & Strulik, Holger, 2017. "R&D-driven medical progess, health care costs, and the future of human longevity," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 325, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    6. Dalgaard, Carl-Johan & Hansen, Casper Worm & Strulik, Holger, 2018. "Physiological Aging around the World and Economic Growth," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 375, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    7. Abeliansky, Ana Lucia & Strulik, Holger, 2018. "Long-run improvements in human health: Steady but unequal," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 355, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    8. Strulik, Holger, 2018. "I shouldn't eat this donut: Self-control, body weight, and health in a life cycle model," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 360, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fetal Origins; Health Capital; Health Deficits; Ontogenetic Growth; In Utero Development;

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

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