In this episode, hosts Matt Dickson and Franz Buscha are joined by Sonia Bhalotra, Professor of Economics at the University of Warwick. Sonia has a prodigious volume of research on topics relating to the creation of human capital, early child development, gender inequality, intergenerational mobility, and the impact of early life health on later life outcomes.
Sonia discusses her research on the impact of the advent of antibiotics in the US in the 1930s on child pneumonia, and how this had long-lasting impacts on children’s education and labour market outcomes. She explains how improvements in child health and mortality have implications not just for the children themselves, but also for women’s fertility decisions and labour supply.
The discussion then turns to the trade-off between the “quality” and the quantity of children that a family have – including the surprising news that having twins is not as random as we might have assumed. Finally, they touch on Sonia’s research into the long-term benefits of treating maternal depression, which highlights how a non-drug therapy can have profound and long-lasting impact on maternal health and wellbeing.