Foster families had a major impact on the education levels of Finnish children evacuated to Sweden during the Second World War
The dissertation consists of four separate essays in two of which Santavirta examines different aspects of the evacuation of Finnish children to Sweden during the Second World War. In the first essay, the focus is on the impacts of a temporary living environment on the children's education levels.
Finnish children sent to Sweden ended up in living environments that in most cases were unconnected with their family background or genotype.
Thus, the impact of the living environments on the children can be examined without taking genetic factors into consideration. According to the findings, the socio-economic environment in which children spend a few years during their early period of development has, on average, a major impact on their education levels.
During the Second World War, about 50,000 Finnish children were sent to Sweden as part of a national evacuation programme. The children involved were aged about five and spent approximately two years with their foster families. The evacuations were carried out systematically in accordance with the procedures agreed as part of the programme. The children were put in numerical order and did not provide their foster parents with any documents about their family background. The material used in the study covers a representative sample of the evacuee children combining personal information gathered from war-time registers with an extensive questionnaire survey. This is the first time that a large amount of quantitative material covering a representative sample of Finnish war-time evacuee children has been collected.
In his second essay on the evacuee children, Santavirta examines the impact of their stay in Sweden on prolonged depression during adult age. According to the findings, the Finnish war-time evacuee children are not significantly different from the control group in statistical terms. In his study, Santavirta compares a representative sample of Finnish war-time evacuee children with the control group, standardising the demographic factors, the socio-economic background and the evacuation criteria.
Wages and salaries fluctuate more in Finland than in other countries
In his third essay, Santavirta compares pay models concluding that Finnish companies do not implicitly insure their employees’ wages and salaries against external market conditions. The market conditions existing during the employment relationship do not seem to have a significant impact on the wages or the salary of the employee. Thus, there is substantially more pay fluctuation in Finland than in such country as the United States.
Increases in church tax make church membership less popular
In the last essay, Santavirta, using Finland’s personal registers as a basis, analyses the impact of the church tax on the willingness of Finns to remain church members. The findings indicate that among the population as a whole the average impact of tax incentives on the willingness to remain a church member is statistically significant and of practical importance. According to the findings, an increase in the church tax amounting to a mean deviation (about EUR 140 each year) reduces the likelihood of remaining a church member by approximately one percentage point.
Torsten Santavirta, Master of Social Sciences, will defend his dissertation “Essays on Human Capital Development, Wage Dynamics, and Religious Participation” in the field of economics at the Aalto University School of Economics (lecture hall of the Economicum Building, Arkadiankatu 7) on Friday 11 November at 2:15 pm.
Professor Mikael Lindahl from the Uppsala University will act as the opponent and Professor Pekka Ilmakunnas as the custos.
Media representatives may request free copies of the dissertation at the School of Economics Communications Unit (viestint%C3%A4-econ [at] aalto [dot] fi (viestintäemail@example.com), tel. +358 50 566 5673.
Copies of the dissertation are on sale at the service point of the Aalto University Student Union (Aalto School of Economics main building, Runeberginkatu 14-16, Helsinki).
Tel. +46 76 61 09761,
torsten.santavirta [at] sofi [dot] su [dot] se,