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Rising educational gradients in mortality: The role of behavioral risk factors

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Listed:
  • Cutler, David M.
  • Lange, Fabian
  • Meara, Ellen
  • Richards-Shubik, Seth
  • Ruhm, Christopher J.

Abstract

The long-standing inverse relationship between education and mortality strengthened substantially at the end of the 20th century. This paper examines the reasons for this increase. We show that behavioral risk factors are not of primary importance. Smoking declined more for the better educated, but not enough to explain the trend. Obesity rose at similar rates across education groups, and control of blood pressure and cholesterol increased fairly uniformly as well. Rather, our results show that the mortality returns to risk factors, and conditional on risk factors, the return to education, have grown over time.

Suggested Citation

  • Cutler, David M. & Lange, Fabian & Meara, Ellen & Richards-Shubik, Seth & Ruhm, Christopher J., 2011. "Rising educational gradients in mortality: The role of behavioral risk factors," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1174-1187.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:30:y:2011:i:6:p:1174-1187 DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2011.06.009
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Marco Francesconi & Robert A. Pollak & Domenico Tabasso, 2015. "Unequal Bequests," Research Papers by the Institute of Economics and Econometrics, Geneva School of Economics and Management, University of Geneva 15013, Institut d'Economie et Econométrie, Université de Genève.
    2. Richard Layte & Anne Nolan, 2016. "Socio-economic Differentials in Male Mortality in Ireland 1984-2008," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 47(3), pages 361-390.
    3. Dora L. Costa, 2015. "Health and the Economy in the United States from 1750 to the Present," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 53(3), pages 503-570, September.
    4. Tom S. Vogl, 2012. "Education and Health in Developing Economies," Working Papers 1453, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
    5. Damien Bricard & Florence Jusot & François Beck & Myriam Khlat & Stéphane Legleye, 2014. "L’évolution des inégalités sociales de tabagisme au cours du cycle de vie : une analyse selon la cohorte et le genre," Post-Print hal-01523920, HAL.
    6. Richard Guy Cox & Darren Grant, 2017. "Traffic Safety and Human Capital," Working Papers 1701, Sam Houston State University, Department of Economics and International Business.
    7. repec:pri:rpdevs:vogl_ed_health_review is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Owen O'Donnell & Eddy Van Doorslaer & Tom Van Ourti, 2013. "Health and Inequality," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-170/V, Tinbergen Institute.
    9. Michael Baker & Janet Currie & Hannes Schwandt, 2017. "Mortality Inequality in Canada and the U.S.: Divergent or Convergent Trends?," NBER Working Papers 23514, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Goldring, Thomas & Lange, Fabian & Richards-Shubik, Seth, 2016. "Testing for changes in the SES-mortality gradient when the distribution of education changes too," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 120-130.
    11. Anne Case & Angus Deaton, 2017. "Mortality and Morbidity in the 21st Century," Working Papers 2017-spring, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
    12. Janet Currie & Hannes Schwandt, 2016. "Mortality Inequality: The Good News from a County-Level Approach," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 30(2), pages 29-52, Spring.
    13. repec:dau:papers:123456789/14335 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. repec:eee:socmed:v:183:y:2017:i:c:p:130-141 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. ZHONG, Hai, 2015. "An over time analysis on the mechanisms behind the education–health gradients in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 135-149.
    16. Damien Bricard & Florence Jusot & François Beck & Myriam Khlat & Stéphane Legleye, 2016. "Educational inequalities in smoking over the life cycle: an analysis by cohort and gender," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), pages 101-109.
    17. repec:esx:essedp:759 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Geoffrey T. Sanzenbacher & Jorge D. Ramos-Mercado, 2016. "Calculating Expected Social Security Benefits by Race, Education, and Claiming Age," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2016-14, Center for Retirement Research.
    19. repec:bin:bpeajo:v:48:y:2017:i:2017-01:p:397-476 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Health inequality; Risk factors; Education and mortality; Smoking; Obesity;

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts

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