Health and Well-being of Young People in Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam: Life Course Impacts

Using data from four waves of the Young Lives longitudinal survey, we follow the lives of 3,064 eight-year-old children over 12 years in four developing countries (Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam) to explore the links between children’s lives and their health and wellbeing in early adulthood. We apply a novel combination of sequence analysis with clustering and difference-in-differences estimation techniques to identify links between health and wellbeing outcomes in early adulthood and six distinct clusters grouping similar life course pathways. The latter are characterised by family living conditions, economic status and experience of critical life events (including economic shocks). Our results indicate that there were significant differences in health and wellbeing between children in the most advantaged and less advantaged clusters. These wellbeing gaps all narrowed over time but only completely closed for one cluster. In contrast, only some of the initial health gaps narrowed. These results suggest that policy aimed at improving health and wellbeing outcomes in early adulthood needs to focus on supporting disadvantaged young children.