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The Developmental Origins of Health: Biology, Shocks, Investments, and Policies

The Developmental Origins of Health: Biology, Shocks, Investments, and Policies

Objective

What are the origins of inequalities in health? A recent literature in economics has established causal impacts of early life shocks, investments and policies on lifelong health. However, several unknowns remain. The mechanisms through which shocks, investments, and policies interact are just beginning to be understood. Our knowledge of sensitive periods is imprecise. Little is also known about the impact of shocks and policies across different ages. Commonly used health capital measures, such as birth weight, lack sensitivity and specificity. The interplay between genes and environments in the formation of health inequalities is poorly understood.
To fill these gaps, I will build on insights from my earlier work, and use a combination of high-quality data, more sensitive measures, robust identification strategies and richer models to untangle the complex interactions between biology, shocks, investments and policies.
First, I will investigate causal impacts and mechanisms of two public health policies on child health and development: medical treatments for pregnancy complications and prenatal home visiting programmes. Second, I will examine the effects of two environmental shocks (pollution and influenza) on the formation of early health and human capital, and their interplay with maternal investments in nutrition. Third, I will study interactions between shocks, investments and policies from birth to adulthood, to understand the dynamic interplay between SES and health. Throughout, I will explore their interactions with genetic susceptibility or potential.
I will analyse administrative records, registries linked to survey data, cohort data with biomarkers; and a randomized controlled trial. I will use state-of-the-art econometric techniques for observational and experimental data. My findings will have direct policy implications and will help understand whether and to which extent early life interventions are a cost-effective mean to promote health.
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Host institution

UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON

Address

Gower Street
Wc1e 6bt London

United Kingdom

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 1 713 798

Beneficiaries (2)

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UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON

United Kingdom

EU Contribution

€ 1 713 798

CARDIFF UNIVERSITY

United Kingdom

EU Contribution

€ 24 965

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 819752

Status

Ongoing project

  • Start date

    1 April 2019

  • End date

    31 March 2024

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.1.

  • Overall budget:

    € 1 738 763

  • EU contribution

    € 1 738 763

Hosted by:

UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON

United Kingdom