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Socioeconomic Differentials in Male Mortality in Ireland: 1984-2008

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  • Layte, Richard
  • Nolan, Anne

Abstract

The presence of pronounced inequalities in mortality and life expectancy across income, education and social groups is now well established. Research across a large number of developed and wealthy countries, including Ireland, has shown that those with fewer resources, less education or a lower occupational class have higher standardised mortality rates (SMRs) than more advantaged individuals. Research for Ireland for the period 1989-1991 indicated that men in the unskilled manual social class had a mortality rate 2.8 times that of men in the higher professional social class. However, serious issues with the occupational coding of mortality data for the years since 1991 have meant that there has been no subsequent analysis of trends in socio-economic inequalities in mortality. The period since then has been characterised by an unprecedented boom and bust in economic activity which may well have influenced mortality differentials between socio-economic groups. The SMR in 2008 was 37% lower than in 1984 and 30% lower than in 1995. Using annual mortality data from the CSO over the period 1984-2008, this paper examines whether the overall downward trend in mortality observed over this period was experienced equally by all socio-economic groups (SEG) whilst adjusting the SMRs to take account of the coding issues effecting data on occupation/SEG. We use three methods to deal with the coding issues in the data across time: direct adjustment; imputation and a fully Bayesian imputation. Using these approaches we find that the differential in SMRs between professional and unskilled men aged 15+ decreased between 1984 and the early 1990s but then increased significantly thereafter as the SMR for professional men continued to decrease whilst that of unskilled men stabilised and then began to increase.

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Paper provided by Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) in its series Papers with number WP470.

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Date of creation: Nov 2013
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Handle: RePEc:esr:wpaper:wp470

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  1. Andrew Leigh & Christopher Jencks, 2006. "Inequality and Mortality: Long-Run Evidence from a Panel of Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 533, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  2. Svensson, Mikael, 2006. "Don’t Go Breaking your Heart: Do Economic Upturns Really Increase Heart Attack Mortality?," Working Papers 2006:8, Örebro University, School of Business, revised 01 Nov 2006.
  3. Tekin, Erdal & McClellan, Chandler & Minyard, Karen Jean, 2013. "Health and Health Behaviors during the Worst of Times: Evidence from the Great Recession," IZA Discussion Papers 7538, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  5. Leclerc, Annette & Chastang, Jean-François & Menvielle, Gwenn & Luce, Danièle, 2006. "Socioeconomic inequalities in premature mortality in France: Have they widened in recent decades?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(8), pages 2035-2045, April.
  6. McInerney, Melissa & Mellor, Jennifer M., 2012. "Recessions and seniors’ health, health behaviors, and healthcare use: Analysis of the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 744-751.
  7. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Are Recessions Good For Your Health?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(2), pages 617-650, May.
  8. Audrey Laporte, 2004. "Do economic cycles have a permanent effect on population health? Revisiting the Brenner hypothesis," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(8), pages 767-779.
  9. Cutler, David M. & Lange, Fabian & Meara, Ellen & Richards-Shubik, Seth & Ruhm, Christopher J., 2011. "Rising educational gradients in mortality: The role of behavioral risk factors," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1174-1187.
  10. Neumayer, Eric, 2004. "Recessions lower (some) mortality rates:: evidence from Germany," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 58(6), pages 1037-1047, March.
  11. Wilkinson, Richard G & Pickett, Kate E., 2006. "Income inequality and population health: A review and explanation of the evidence," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(7), pages 1768-1784, April.
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