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Fetal origins: A life cycle model of health and aging from conception to death

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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. In order to discuss human health over the life cycle from conception to death, we 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, 2020. "Fetal origins: A life cycle model of health and aging from conception to death," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 400, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:cegedp:400
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fetal Origins; Health Capital; Health Deficits; Ontogenetic Growth; In Utero Development;
    All these keywords.

    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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