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Centre for Economic Demography

Lund University School of Economics and Management

Research award to Luciana Quaranta

Published: 2014-03-18

Sparbanksstiftelsen Färs & Frosta's Research Award 2014 for outstanding doctoral thesis has been awarded Luciana Quaranta

Sparbanksstiftelsen Färs & Frosta has, together with the School of Economics and Management and its nomination committee assigned Luciana Quaranta Sparbanksstiftelsen Färs & Frosta's research award in 2014 for outstanding doctoral thesis.

This was the motivation from the jury

Luciana Quaranta's dissertation analyzes how conditions at birth, such as socioeconomic status and exposure to infectious diseases, affect health later on in life. The thesis, which has a long-term historical perspective, highlights how a better diet and reduction of disease leads to an increased life expectancy and higher productivity. Through its creative and careful use of longitudinal micro-data and advanced methodology,

Quaranta's thesis is at the forefront of research in both economic history and demographics. The results leave important contributions to the scientific debate on health and economics. While the analysis is historical, the results are highly relevant for today's and tomorrow's society and economy.

Luciana Quaranta used a unique population database at the Centre for Economic Demography, which made it possible to follow individuals in five Swedish communities from 1813 until 1968. She studied how conditions at birth, such as socioeconomic status and exposure to infectious diseases, affect people later on in life.

- I found that individuals who were born in the year of wooping cough, and who survive until they were adults, were at a greater risk of premature death. The probability for women were 20% and 40% for men. The elevated mortality rate also affected individuals equal regardless of socioeconomic status, says Luciana Quaranta.

Luciana Quaranta defended her thesis on 5 June 2013. The title of her work is Scarred for life.
How conditions in early life affected socioeconomic status, reproduction and mortality in southern Sweden 1813 – 1968 . The results had an international impact and you can read more about them in the New York Times, in the press release "the disease that hurt for life" or the interview in Lund Business Review, "How does early life conditions affect us later in life?", where Quaranta explains the results