Evelina Björkegren, Mikael Lindahl, Mårten Palme, Emilia Simeonova, 11 March 2021

It is well documented that children from affluent families tend to be healthier than poor children, but distinguishing between the genetic and environmental causes of these health outcomes remains difficult. This column uses data from a large sample of Swedish children to compare those raised by their biological parents to adoptees. It finds that the link between parents’ education level and children’s long-term health is forged by mediating factors – from the formation of cognitive and non-cognitive skills to health-related life habits – and due primarily to investments in children’s human capital.

Per Engzell, Felix Tropf, 26 January 2020

The debate about the influence of ‘nature versus nurture’ in human achievement persists. This column contributes to this debate by linking trends in intergenerational mobility to data from nearly 50,000 twins. The findings suggest that in countries with lower rates of social mobility, family environment (‘nurture’) plays a more significant role than it does in countries where institutions that promote mobility enjoy wide support.

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