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Mortality Inequality

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  • Sam Peltzman

Abstract

The paper describes how changes in the inequality of lifetimes have contributed to changes in the social distribution of welfare. I address the following questions: How can we measure inequality of lifetimes? How has this kind of inequality changed over time? How is this inequality related to increased longevity? How do these trends differ across and within countries? Unequal longevity was once a major source of social inequality, perhaps even more important in some sense than income inequality, for a long time. But over the last century, this inequality has declined drastically in high-income countries and is now comparatively trivial.

Suggested Citation

  • Sam Peltzman, 2009. "Mortality Inequality," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(4), pages 175-190, Fall.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:23:y:2009:i:4:p:175-90
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.23.4.175
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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.23.4.175
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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/jep/app/2304_Peltzman_appendix.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gary S. Becker & Tomas J. Philipson & Rodrigo R. Soares, 2005. "The Quantity and Quality of Life and the Evolution of World Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 277-291, March.
    2. Simon Kuznets & Elizabeth Jenks, 1953. "Shares of Upper Income Groups in Income and Savings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kuzn53-1.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Weil, David N., 2014. "Health and Economic Growth," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 3, pages 623-682 Elsevier.
    2. Joseph T. Lariscy & Claudia Nau & Glenn Firebaugh & Robert A. Hummer, 2016. "Hispanic-White Differences in Lifespan Variability in the United States," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(1), pages 215-239, February.
    3. Lionel Kesztenbaum & Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, 2014. "Income versus Sanitation; Mortality Decline in Paris, 1880-1914," Working Papers halshs-01018594, HAL.
    4. Sushanta K. Mallick, 2014. "Disentangling the Poverty Effects of Sectoral Output, Prices, and Policies in India," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(4), pages 773-801, December.
    5. Vanesa Jordá & Miguel Niño-Zarazúa, 2017. "Global inequality in length of life: 1950–2015," WIDER Working Paper Series 192, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    6. Duncan Gillespie & Meredith Trotter & Shripad Tuljapurkar, 2014. "Divergence in Age Patterns of Mortality Change Drives International Divergence in Lifespan Inequality," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(3), pages 1003-1017, June.
    7. Glenn Firebaugh & Francesco Acciai & Aggie Noah & Christopher Prather & Claudia Nau, 2014. "Why Lifespans Are More Variable Among Blacks Than Among Whites in the United States," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(6), pages 2025-2045, December.
    8. Kesztenbaum, Lionel & Rosenthal, Jean-Laurent, 2017. "Sewers’ diffusion and the decline of mortality: The case of Paris, 1880–1914," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 174-186.
    9. Claudia Nau & Glenn Firebaugh, 2012. "A New Method for Determining Why Length of Life is More Unequal in Some Populations Than in Others," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 49(4), pages 1207-1230, November.
    10. Lionel Kesztenbaum & Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, 2014. "Income versus Sanitation; Mortality Decline in Paris, 1880-1914," PSE Working Papers halshs-01018594, HAL.
    11. Sam Peltzman, 2014. "Socialized medicine and mortality," International Journal of Health Economics and Management, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 179-205, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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