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Positive and Negative Effects of Social Status on Longevity: Evidence from Two Literary Prizes in Japan


  • Shusaku Sasaki
  • Mika Akesaka
  • Hirofumi Kurokawa
  • Fumio Ohtake


We show evidence that receiving Japan’s Akutagawa and Naoki Prizes for literature has positive and negative effects on their recipients’ longevity. Using a dataset covering both awards, we show that recipients of the Akutagawa Prize for rising novelists exhibit lower mortality than fellow nominees. The increase of longevity is estimated at 2.4 years. Recipients of the Naoki Prize for established novelists exhibit higher mortality than fellow nominees, and the decreased longevity is 5.1 years. These results indicate that both positive and negative causal effects run from receiving a prize to longevity. Additional analyses support the possibility that positive effects are likely to be larger than a negative effect when candidates exhibit unstable socio-economic status, and then we find a positive net effect to longevity from receiving the Akutagawa Prize. In doing so, this study contributes to clarifying why earlier studies show conflicting relationships between receiving awards and recipients’ longevity.

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  • 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 0968r, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University, revised May 2017.
  • Handle: RePEc:dpr:wpaper:0968r

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    1. Leandro S. Carvalho & Stephan Meier & Stephanie W. Wang, 2016. "Poverty and Economic Decision-Making: Evidence from Changes in Financial Resources at Payday," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(2), pages 260-284, February.
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