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Social capital externalities and mortality in Sweden

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  • Islam, M. Kamrul
  • Gerdtham, Ulf-G.
  • Gullberg, Bo
  • Lindström, Martin
  • Merlo, Juan

Abstract

We conceptualize social capital as an aggregate factor affecting health production and analyze the effect of community social capital (CSC) externalities on individual mortality risk in Sweden. The study was based on a random sample from the adult Swedish population of approximately 95,000 individuals who were followed up for 4-21 years. Two municipality-level variables - registered election participation rate and registered crime rate - were used to be a proxy for CSC. The impact of CSC on mortality was estimated with an extended Cox model, controlling for the initial health status and a number of individual characteristics. The results indicate that both proxies of CSC were associated with individual risk from all-cause mortality for males older than 65+ (p = 0.013 and p = 0.008) but not for females. A higher election participation rate negatively and significantly associated with the mortality risk from cancer for males (p = 0.007), and may also have exerted protective associations for cardiovascular mortality (p = 0.134) and deaths due to "suicide" (p = 0.186) or "other external causes" (p = 0.055). Similar associations were observed for the crime rate variable. The findings were robust to alternative specifications examined in the sensitivity analysis.

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  • Islam, M. Kamrul & Gerdtham, Ulf-G. & Gullberg, Bo & Lindström, Martin & Merlo, Juan, 2008. "Social capital externalities and mortality in Sweden," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 19-42, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:6:y:2008:i:1:p:19-42
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