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Some Explanation of Disparities of Mortality Rates of Working Age Population in Eastern, Central and Western Europe


  • Maria Lacko

    () (Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences)


There is considerable variation in mortality rates of the working age populations across the “old” and the “new” EU member states, and former Soviet Union countries. The explanation for these differences is investigated by scrutinizing three different groups of factors: 1. Socio-economic factors; 2. Lifestyle factors; 3. Health care resources. The analysis is based on regression analysis of health production functions (HPF) calculated from cross-country estimations for 2011. The explanatory variables of the health production function can explain 83-93% of the cross-country differences in mortality rates. The most important contribution comes from the past economic and political system represented by the historical structure of production and the present level of development. We confirmed what other authors found that the “example of Europe shows political system can significantly affect health and mortality conditions.” Economic and lifestyle disadvantages turn out to be more harmful for men than women. The effects of health expenditure, the geographical location of the country and the relative prices of alcohol and tobacco products are similar for the two genders. The consumption of spirits and tobacco, the share of the hidden economy, and the education level are significant explanatory factors for men, but non-significant for women.

Suggested Citation

  • Maria Lacko, 2015. "Some Explanation of Disparities of Mortality Rates of Working Age Population in Eastern, Central and Western Europe," IEHAS Discussion Papers 1535, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
  • Handle: RePEc:has:discpr:1535

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Irina Denisova, 2009. "Mortality in Russia: Microanalysis," Working Papers w0128, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
    2. John Nixon & Philippe Ulmann, 2006. "The relationship between health care expenditure and health outcomes," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 7(1), pages 7-18, March.
    3. Irina Denisova, 2010. "Adult mortality in Russia," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 18(2), pages 333-363, April.
    4. Ellman, Michael, 1994. "The Increase in Death and Disease under "Katastroika."," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(4), pages 329-355, August.
    5. Kennedy, Bruce P. & Kawachi, Ichiro & Brainerd, Elizabeth, 1998. "The role of social capital in the Russian mortality crisis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 26(11), pages 2029-2043, November.
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    More about this item


    mortality rate; cross-country comparison; East-; Central and West-Europe;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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