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The late emergence of socioeconomic mortality differentials: A micro-level study of adult mortality in southern Sweden 1815-1968

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  • Bengtsson, Tommy
  • Dribe, Martin

Abstract

This paper deals with socioeconomic differences in adult mortality in southern Sweden 1815-1968, a period of transformation from an agricultural to a modern industrial society and increasing life expectancy. We use longitudinal micro-level data with information on demographic events, household structure and socioeconomic status. The main finding is that the socioeconomic gradient is a very recent phenomenon. While mortality fell in all socioeconomic groups it was not until the 1950s that a socioeconomic gradient appeared, and then only among adults in working ages. For the elderly, we find no significant mortality differentials between various social groups at any time. These results are consistent with the divergence hypothesis, although this process started much later than previously thought, and was not an immediate consequence of industrialization.

Suggested Citation

  • Bengtsson, Tommy & Dribe, Martin, 2011. "The late emergence of socioeconomic mortality differentials: A micro-level study of adult mortality in southern Sweden 1815-1968," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 389-400, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:48:y:2011:i:3:p:389-400
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Milanovic, Branko & Lindert, Peter & Williamson, Jeffrey, 2007. "Measuring Ancient Inequality," MPRA Paper 5388, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Fogel,Robert William, 2004. "The Escape from Hunger and Premature Death, 1700–2100," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521808781, March.
    3. Steven Ruggles, 2009. "Reconsidering the Northwest European Family System: Living Arrangements of the Aged in Comparative Historical Perspective," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 35(2), pages 249-273.
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    5. Bengtsson, Tommy & van Poppel, Frans, 2011. "Socioeconomic inequalities in death from past to present: An introduction," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 343-356, July.
    6. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1997:87:9:1491-1498_6 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Hoffman, Philip T. & Jacks, David S. & Levin, Patricia A. & Lindert, Peter H., 2002. "Real Inequality In Europe Since 1500," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 62(02), pages 322-355, June.
    8. J. L. Van Zanden, 1995. "Tracing the beginning of the Kuznets curve: western Europe during the early modern period," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 48(4), pages 643-664, November.
    9. Richard H. Steckel, 1995. "Stature and the Standard of Living," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1903-1940, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hannaliis Jaadla & Allan Puur & Kaja Rahu, 2017. "Socioeconomic and cultural differentials in mortality in a late 19th century urban setting: A linked records study from Tartu, Estonia, 1897-1900," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 36(1), pages 1-40, January.
    2. Sören Edvinsson & Göran Broström, 2012. "Old age, health and social inequality," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 26(23), pages 633-660, June.
    3. Andreella, Claudia & Karlsson, Martin & Nilsson, Therese & Westphal, Matthias, 2015. "The long shadows of past insults intergenerational transmission of health over 130 years," Ruhr Economic Papers 571, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    4. Lazuka, Volha & Quaranta, Luciana & Bengtsson, Tommy, 2015. "Fighting Infectious Disease: Evidence from Sweden 1870-1940," IZA Discussion Papers 9313, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Hedefalk, Finn & Quaranta, Luciana & Bengtsson, Tommy, 2016. "Unequal lands: Soil type, nutrition and child mortality in southern Sweden, 1850-1914," Lund Papers in Economic History 148, Lund University, Department of Economic History.
    6. Tommy Bengtsson & Martin Dribe, 2014. "The historical fertility transition at the micro level," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 30(17), pages 493-534, February.
    7. Ohlsson, Henry & Roine, Jesper & Waldenström, Daniel, 2014. "Inherited wealth over the path of development: Sweden, 1810–2010," Working Paper Series, Center for Fiscal Studies 2014:7, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.

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