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Mortality, Family and Lifestyles


  • Gregory Ponthiere



While there is a large empirical literature on the intergenerational transmission of health and survival outcomes in relation to lifestyles, little theoretical work exists on the long-run prevalence of (un)healthy lifestyles induced by mortality patterns. To examine that issue, this paper develops an overlapping generations model where a healthy lifestyle and an unhealthy lifestyle are transmitted vertically or obliquely across generations. It is shown that there must exist a locally stable heterogeneous equilibrium involving a majority of healthy agents, as a result of the larger parental gains from socialization efforts under a higher life expectancy. We also examine the robustness of our results to the introduction of parental altruistic concerns for children's health and of asymmetric socialization costs.
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Suggested Citation

  • Gregory Ponthiere, 2011. "Mortality, Family and Lifestyles," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 175-190, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jfamec:v:32:y:2011:i:2:p:175-190 DOI: 10.1007/s10834-010-9229-9

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Baudin, Thomas, 2010. "A Role For Cultural Transmission In Fertility Transitions," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(04), pages 454-481, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Barry Chiswick & Donka Mirtcheva, 2013. "Religion and Child Health: Religious Affiliation, Importance, and Attendance and Health Status among American Youth," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 34(1), pages 120-140, March.
    2. Yen-ju Lin & Bradley Chen & Tsai-Ching Liu & Chin-Shyan Chen, 2012. "The Impact of Family Structure on Utilization of Preventive Care Services among Children under National Health Insurance in Taiwan," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 33(4), pages 453-463, December.
    3. Ponthiere Gregory, 2013. "Long-Term Care, Altruism and Socialization," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 14(2), pages 429-471, October.
    4. Vanessa Hunn & Claudia Heath, 2011. "Path Analysis of Welfare Use: Depression as a Mediating Factor," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 341-355, June.
    5. Kuo-Liang Chang & George Langelett & Andrew Waugh, 2011. "Health, Health Insurance, and Decision to Exit from Farming," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 356-372, June.
    6. Kuo-Liang Chang & Marjorie Zastrow & Christina Zdorovtsov & Ryan Quast & Larissa Skjonsberg & Suzanne Stluka, 2015. "Do SNAP and WIC Programs Encourage More Fruit and Vegetable Intake? A Household Survey in the Northern Great Plains," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 36(4), pages 477-490, December.
    7. Christina Robinson, 2013. "Younger Siblings Can Be Good for Your Health: An Examination of Spillover Benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 34(2), pages 172-184, June.
    8. Jay Zagorsky, 2013. "Do People Save or Spend Their Inheritances? Understanding What Happens to Inherited Wealth," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 34(1), pages 64-76, March.
    9. Aparna Gupta & Zhisheng Li, 2013. "Optimal Annuity Purchase Decisions Under Uncertain Lifetime," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 34(4), pages 447-459, December.
    10. Roman Zakharenko, 2016. "Endogenous growth and demographic transition in a model of cultural transmission," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 26(5), pages 953-970, December.

    More about this item


    Altruism; Family; Lifestyle; Longevity; Socialization; I12; J11; J13; Z13;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification


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