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Mortality, Health Status, and Wealth


  • Orazio P. Attanasio

    (University College London)

  • Carl Emmerson

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)


In this paper we use the two waves of the British Retirement Survey (1988/1989 and 1994) to quantify the relationship between socioeconomic status and health outcomes. We find that, even after conditioning on the initial health status, wealth rankings are important determinants of mortality and the evolution of the health indicator in the survey. For men aged 65 moving from the 40th percentile to the 60th percentile in the wealth distribution increases the probability of survival by between 1.0 and 1.9 percentage points depending on the measure of wealth used. A similar effect is found for women of between 1.1 and 1.3 percentage points. In the process of estimating these effects we control for nonrandom attrition from our sample. (JEL: I2, J19) Copyright (c) 2003 The European Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Orazio P. Attanasio & Carl Emmerson, 2003. "Mortality, Health Status, and Wealth," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(4), pages 821-850, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:1:y:2003:i:4:p:821-850

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Mariacristina De Nardi & Eric French & John B. Jones, 2010. "Why Do the Elderly Save? The Role of Medical Expenses," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(1), pages 39-75, February.
    2. Mariacristina De Nardi & Eric French & John Bailey Jones, 2016. "Savings After Retirement: A Survey," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 8(1), pages 177-204, October.
    3. Hans-Martin von Gaudecker & Rembrandt D. Scholz, 2006. "Lifetime earnings and life expectancy," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2006-008, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    4. James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2013. "The Nexus of Social Security Benefits, Health, and Wealth at Death," NBER Chapters,in: Discoveries in the Economics of Aging, pages 159-182 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. repec:bla:jorssa:v:180:y:2017:i:3:p:793-816 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Angus S. Deaton & Christina Paxson, 2004. "Mortality, Income, and Income Inequality over Time in Britain and the United States," NBER Chapters,in: Perspectives on the Economics of Aging, pages 247-286 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Adriaan Kalwij & Rob Alessie & Marike Knoef, 2013. "The Association Between Individual Income and Remaining Life Expectancy at the Age of 65 in the Netherlands," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(1), pages 181-206, February.
    8. Hans-Martin von Gaudecker & Rembrandt D. Scholz, 2007. "Differential mortality by lifetime earnings in Germany," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 17(4), pages 83-108, August.
    9. Alexander Ahammer & G. Thomas Horvath & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2017. "The effect of income on mortality—new evidence for the absence of a causal link," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 180(3), pages 793-816, June.
    10. Pilar García‐Gómez & Erik Schokkaert & Tom Van Ourti & Teresa Bago d'Uva, 2015. "Inequity in the Face of Death," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(10), pages 1348-1367, October.
    11. Eric French & Mariacristina De Nardi & John Bailey Jones & Olesya Baker & Phil Doctor, 2006. "Right before the end: asset decumulation at the end of life," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q III, pages 2-13.
    12. James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2011. "Were They Prepared for Retirement? Financial Status at Advanced Ages in the HRS and AHEAD Cohorts," NBER Chapters,in: Investigations in the Economics of Aging, pages 21-69 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    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. Shuyun May Li, Solmaz Moslehi, Siew Ling Yew, 2012. "Public-Private Mix of Health Expenditure: A Political Economy Approach and A Quantitative Exercise," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1157, The University of Melbourne.
    15. Michele Belloni & Rob Alessie & Adriaan Kalwij & Chiara Marinacci, 2013. "Lifetime income and old age mortality risk in Italy over two decades," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 29(45), pages 1261-1298, December.
    16. Karol Jan BOROWIECKI & Georgios KAVETSOS, 2011. "Does Competition Kill? The Case of Classical Composers," Trinity Economics Papers tep1111, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
    17. Alexander S. Skorobogatov, 2012. "The value of human capital and health behavior," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 32(2), pages 1785-1796.
    18. Christoph Schinke, 2012. "Inheritance in Germany 1911 to 2009: A Mortality Multiplier Approach," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 462, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    19. Mariacristina De Nardi & Eric French & John Bailey Jones, 2015. "Couples' and Singles’ Savings After Retirement," Working Papers wp322, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • J19 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Other


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