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Mortality and immortality: The Nobel Prize as an experiment into the effect of status upon longevity

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  • Rablen, Matthew D.
  • Oswald, Andrew J.

Abstract

It has been known for centuries that the rich and famous have longer lives than the poor and ordinary. Causality, however, remains trenchantly debated. The ideal experiment would be one in which extra status could somehow be dropped upon a sub-sample of individuals while those in a control group of comparable individuals received none. This paper attempts to formulate a test in that spirit. It collects 19th-century birth data on science Nobel Prize winners. Correcting for potential biases, we estimate that winning the Prize, compared to merely being nominated, is associated with between 1 and 2 years of extra longevity.

Suggested Citation

  • Rablen, Matthew D. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2008. "Mortality and immortality: The Nobel Prize as an experiment into the effect of status upon longevity," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 1462-1471, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:27:y:2008:i:6:p:1462-1471
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bruno S. Frey & Susanne Neckermann, 2008. "Awards in Economics - Towards a New Field of Inquiry," CREMA Working Paper Series 2008-33, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    2. Costa-Font, Joan & Ljunge, Martin, 2018. "The ‘healthy worker effect’: Do healthy people climb the occupational ladder?," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 119-131.
    3. Christopher J. Boyce & Andrew J. Oswald, 2012. "Do people become healthier after being promoted?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(5), pages 580-596, May.
    4. Borgschulte, Mark & Vogler, Jacob, 2017. "Run For Your Life? The Effect of Close Elections on the Life Expectancy of Politicians," IZA Discussion Papers 10779, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Shusaku Sasaki & Mika Akesaka & Hirofumi Kurokawa & Fumio Ohtake, 2016. "Positive and Negative Effects of Social Status on Longevity:Evidence from Two Literary Prizes in Japan," ISER Discussion Paper 0968, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    6. repec:spr:scient:v:102:y:2015:i:1:d:10.1007_s11192-014-1367-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. KRAPF, Matthias & SCHLÄPFER, Jörg, 2012. "How Nobel Laureates Would Perform In The Handelsblatt Ranking," Regional and Sectoral Economic Studies, Euro-American Association of Economic Development, vol. 12(3).
    8. Johanna Catherine Maclean & Douglas A. Webber & Michael T. French & Susan L. Ettner, 2015. "The Health Consequences of Adverse Labor Market Events: Evidence from Panel Data," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(3), pages 478-498, July.
    9. Laura Kudrna & Georgios Kavetsos & Chloe Foy & Paul Dolan, 2016. "Without my Medal on my Mind: Counterfactual Thinking and Other Determinants of Athlete Emotions," Working Papers 66, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research.
    10. Chen, Xi & Wang, Tianyu & Busch, Susan, 2016. "Does Money Relieve Depression? Evidence from Social Pension Expansions in China," IZA Discussion Papers 10037, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Philipp Koellinger & Matthijs Loos & Patrick Groenen & A. Thurik & Fernando Rivadeneira & Frank Rooij & André Uitterlinden & Albert Hofman, 2010. "Genome-wide association studies in economics and entrepreneurship research: promises and limitations," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 35(1), pages 1-18, July.
    12. William N. Evans & Craig L. Garthwaite, 2014. "Giving Mom a Break: The Impact of Higher EITC Payments on Maternal Health," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 258-290, May.
    13. Borowiecki, Karol Jan & Kavetsos, Georgios, 2015. "In fatal pursuit of immortal fame: Peer competition and early mortality of music composers," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 30-42.
    14. Winkelmann, Rainer, 2012. "Conspicuous consumption and satisfaction," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 183-191.
    15. Liu, Gordon G. & Kwon, Ohyun & Xue, Xindong & Fleisher, Belton M., 2014. "How Much Does Social Status Matter to Health? Evidence from China's Academician Election," IZA Discussion Papers 8010, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    16. Jana Gallus, 2016. "Fostering Voluntary Contributions to a Public Good: A Large-Scale Natural Field Experiment at Wikipedia," Natural Field Experiments 00552, The Field Experiments Website.
    17. van der Loos, M.J.H.M. & Koellinger, Ph.D. & Groenen, P.J.F. & Thurik, A.R., 2010. "Genome-wide Association Studies and the Genetics of Entrepreneurship," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2010-004-ORG, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
    18. Karol Jan BOROWIECKI & Georgios KAVETSOS, 2011. "Does Competition Kill? The Case of Classical Composers," Trinity Economics Papers tep1111, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
    19. Maite Blázquez Cuesta & Santiago Budría, 2013. "Does income deprivation affect people’s mental well-being?," Working Papers 1312, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
    20. Jan Fidrmuc & Boontarika Paphawasit & Çiğdem Börke Tunalı, 2017. "Nobel Beauty," Working Paper series 17-27, Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
    21. Fedotenkov, Igor & Derkachev, Pavel, 2017. "Gender longevity gap and socioeconomic indicators in developed countries," MPRA Paper 83215, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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