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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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