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Rising educational gradients in mortality: The role of behavioral risk factors

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Author Info

  • Cutler, David M.
  • Lange, Fabian
  • Meara, Ellen
  • Richards-Shubik, Seth
  • Ruhm, Christopher J.

Abstract

The long-standing inverse relationship between education and mortality strengthened substantially at the end of the 20th century. This paper examines the reasons for this increase. We show that behavioral risk factors are not of primary importance. Smoking declined more for the better educated, but not enough to explain the trend. Obesity rose at similar rates across education groups, and control of blood pressure and cholesterol increased fairly uniformly as well. Rather, our results show that the mortality returns to risk factors, and conditional on risk factors, the return to education, have grown over time.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 30 (2011)
Issue (Month): 6 ()
Pages: 1174-1187

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:30:y:2011:i:6:p:1174-1187

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505560

Related research

Keywords: Health inequality; Risk factors; Education and mortality; Smoking; Obesity;

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References

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  1. Michael Grossman, 1972. "The Demand for Health: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gros72-1, July.
  2. Kenneth Y. Chay & Michael Greenstone, 2003. "The Impact Of Air Pollution On Infant Mortality: Evidence From Geographic Variation In Pollution Shocks Induced By A Recession," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1121-1167, August.
  3. Rosen, Allison B. & Stewart, Susan T. & Cutler, David M., 2009. "Forecasting the Effects of Obesity and Smoking on U.S. Life Expectancy," Scholarly Articles 5344184, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Harriet Duleep, 1989. "Measuring socioeconomic mortality differentials over time," Demography, Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 345-351, May.
  5. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Allison B. Rosen, 2009. "Is the U.S. Population Behaving Healthier?," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Policy in a Changing Environment, pages 423-442 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Kenkel, D.S., 1988. "Health Behavior, Health Knowledge, And Schooling," Papers 10-88-3, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  7. John Cawley & Richard V. Burkhauser, 2006. "Beyond BMI: The Value of More Accurate Measures of Fatness and Obesity in Social Science Research," NBER Working Papers 12291, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. James Smith, 2007. "Diabetes and the Rise of the SES Health Gradient," NBER Working Papers 12905, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Enrico Moretti & Matthew Neidell, 2009. "Pollution, Health, and Avoidance Behavior: Evidence from the Ports of Los Angeles," NBER Working Papers 14939, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Lange, Fabian, 2011. "The role of education in complex health decisions: Evidence from cancer screening," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 43-54, January.
  11. David M. Cutler, 2008. "Are We Finally Winning the War on Cancer?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(4), pages 3-26, Fall.
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Cited by:
  1. Layte, Richard & Nolan, Anne, 2013. "Socioeconomic Differentials in Male Mortality in Ireland: 1984-2008," Papers WP470, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
  2. Dora Costa, 2013. "Health and the Economy in the United States, from 1750 to the Present," NBER Working Papers 19685, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Tom S. Vogl, 2012. "Education and Health in Developing Economies," Working Papers 1453, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..

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