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Heightened mortality after the death of a spouse: Marriage protection or marriage selection?

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  • Espinosa, Javier
  • Evans, William N.

Abstract

We test whether the heightened mortality after the death of a spouse represents correlation or causation by examining the heterogeneity in the bereavement effect based on the spouse's cause of death. Some causes of death are correlated with socioeconomic characteristics while others are not. Equality in the bereavement effect across these two types of death would signal a causal relationship while no bereavement effect for uncorrelated causes of death would indicate an omitted variables bias. Results indicate that the observed effect for women is subject to an omitted variables bias but the estimates for men indicate a causal relationship.

Suggested Citation

  • Espinosa, Javier & Evans, William N., 2008. "Heightened mortality after the death of a spouse: Marriage protection or marriage selection?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 1326-1342, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:27:y:2008:i:5:p:1326-1342
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    Cited by:

    1. Felix Elwert & Nicholas Christakis, 2008. "Wives and ex-wives: A new test for homogamy bias in the widowhood effect," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 45(4), pages 851-873, November.
    2. Shu-Hsi Ho, 2016. "A Study of Outpatient Utilization Between Widowers and Widows among the Elderly in Taiwan," Review of Economics & Finance, Better Advances Press, Canada, vol. 6, pages 79-90, February.
    3. Robert Scholte & Gerard J. van den Berg & Maarten Lindeboom & Dorly J.H. Deeg, 2017. "Does the Size of the Effect of Adverse Events at High Ages on Daily‐Life Physical Functioning Depend on the Economic Conditions Around Birth?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(1), pages 86-103, January.
    4. Shu-Hsi Ho, 2015. "A comparative assessment of emergency medicine between the widowers and widows among the elderly in Taiwan," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 35(3), pages 1795-1808.
    5. Michael Rendall & Margaret Weden & Melissa Favreault & Hilary Waldron, 2011. "The Protective Effect of Marriage for Survival: A Review and Update," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 48(2), pages 481-506, May.
    6. repec:spr:eurpop:v:34:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10680-017-9423-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Espinosa, Javier & Evans, William N., 2013. "Maternal bereavement: The heightened mortality of mothers after the death of a child," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 371-381.
    8. Eran Shor & David Roelfs & Misty Curreli & Lynn Clemow & Matthew Burg & Joseph Schwartz, 2012. "Widowhood and Mortality: A Meta-Analysis and Meta-Regression," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 49(2), pages 575-606, May.
    9. repec:eee:ehbiol:v:26:y:2017:i:c:p:1-12 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Simeonova, Emilia, 2013. "Marriage, bereavement and mortality: The role of health care utilization," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 33-50.
    11. Di Novi, Cinzia, 2013. "The indirect effect of fine particulate matter on health through individuals’ life-style," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 27-36.
    12. Ayllón, Sara & Ferreira-Batista, Natalia N., 2015. "‘Mommy, I miss daddy’. The effect of family structure on children's health in Brazil," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 19(C), pages 75-89.
    13. Cinzia Di Novi, 2011. "Quality and Reputation: The Indirect Effect of Fine Particulate Matter on Health through Individuals' Life-style," DISCE - Quaderni dell'Istituto di Economia dell'Impresa e del Lavoro ieil0062, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
    14. Daysal, N. Meltem & Orsini, Chiara, 2012. "Spillover Effects of Drug Safety Warnings on Health Behavior," IZA Discussion Papers 6409, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. repec:jku:cdlwps:2015_07 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Bernhard Schmidpeter, 2015. "The Fatal Consequences of Grief," CDL Aging, Health, Labor working papers 2015-07, The Christian Doppler (CD) Laboratory Aging, Health, and the Labor Market, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    17. Harris, Timothy & Yelowitz, Aaron, 2016. "Life Insurance Holdings and Well-Being of Surviving Spouses," MPRA Paper 70334, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Lea Gimenez & Shin-Yi Chou & Jin-Tan Liu & Jin-Long Liu, 2013. "Parental Loss and Children’s Well-Being," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 48(4), pages 1035-1071.
    19. Kohn, Jennifer L. & Averett, Susan L., 2014. "The effect of relationship status on health with dynamic health and persistent relationships," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 69-83.

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