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Stratification and Mortality - A Comparison of Education, Class, Status and Income

  • Torssander, Jenny

    ()

    (Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University)

  • Erikson, Robert

    ()

    (Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University)

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    In many analyses of social inequality in health, different dimensions of social stratification have been used more or less interchangeably as measures of the individual’s general social standing. This procedure, however, has been questioned in previous studies, most of them comparing education, class and/or income. In the present article, the importance of education and income as well as two aspects of occupation – class and status – are examined. The results are based on register data and refer to all Swedish employees in the age range 35-59 years. There are clear gradients in total death risk for all socioeconomic factors except for income from work among women. The size of the independent effects of education, class, status and income differ between men and women. For both sexes, there are clear net associations between education and mortality. Class and income show independent effects on mortality only for men and status shows an independent effect only for women. While different stratification dimensions – education, social class, income, status – all can be used to show a “social gradient” with mortality, each of them seems to have a specific effect in addition to the general effect related to the stratification of society for either men or women.

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    Paper provided by Swedish Institute for Social Research in its series Working Paper Series with number 5/2008.

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    Length: 25 pages
    Date of creation: 07 Oct 2008
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:hhs:sofiwp:2008_005
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    1. Sundquist, Jan & Johansson, Sven-Erik, 1997. "Indicators of socio-economic position and their relation to mortality in Sweden," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 45(12), pages 1757-1766, December.
    2. Bartley, M. & Sacker, A. & Firth, D. & Fitzpatrick, R., 1999. "Social position, social roles and women's health in England: changing relationships 1984-1993," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 99-115, January.
    3. Benzeval, Michaela & Judge, Ken, 2001. "Income and health: the time dimension," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 52(9), pages 1371-1390, May.
    4. Mary C. Daly & Peggy McDonough & Greg J. Duncan & David Williams, 1999. "Optimal indicators of socioeconomic status for health research," Working Papers in Applied Economic Theory 99-03, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    5. Erikson, Robert, 2006. "Social class assignment and mortality in Sweden," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(9), pages 2151-2160, May.
    6. Chandola, Tarani, 1998. "Social inequality in coronary heart disease: a comparison of occupational classifications," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 47(4), pages 525-533, August.
    7. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1991. "Loss Aversion in Riskless Choice: A Reference-Dependent Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1039-61, November.
    8. Shelly J. Lundberg & Robert A. Pollak & Terence J. Wales, 1997. "Do Husbands and Wives Pool Their Resources? Evidence from the United Kingdom Child Benefit," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(3), pages 463-480.
    9. Lundberg, S.J. & Pollak, R.A. & Wales, T.J., 1994. "Do Husbands and Wives Pool Their Resources? Evidence from U.K. Child Benefit," Working Papers 94-6, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
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