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Health, Stress, and Social Networks: Evidence from Union Army Veterans

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  • Dora L. Costa
  • Matthew E. Kahn

Abstract

We find that veterans of the Union Army who faced greater wartime stress (as measured by higher battlefield mortality rates) experienced higher mortality rates at older ages, but that men who were from more cohesive companies were statistically significantly less likely to be affected by wartime stress. Our results hold for overall mortality, mortality from ischemic heart disease and stroke, and new diagnoses of arteriosclerosis. Our findings represent one of the first long-run health follow-ups of the interaction between stress and social networks in a human population in which both stress and social networks are arguably exogeneous.

Suggested Citation

  • Dora L. Costa & Matthew E. Kahn, 2008. "Health, Stress, and Social Networks: Evidence from Union Army Veterans," NBER Working Papers 14053, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14053
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w14053.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dora Costa, 2000. "Understanding the twentieth-century decline in chronic conditions among older men," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 37(1), pages 53-72, February.
    2. Michael Kremer & Edward Miguel, 2007. "The Illusion of Sustainability," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1007-1065.
    3. Dora L. Costa & Matthew E. Kahn, 2003. "Cowards and Heroes: Group Loyalty in the American Civil War," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(2), pages 519-548.
    4. Aizer, Anna & Currie, Janet, 2004. "Networks or neighborhoods? Correlations in the use of publicly-funded maternity care in California," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(12), pages 2573-2585, December.
    5. Carole Roan Gresenz & Jeannette Rogowski & José J. Escarce, 2007. "Social Networks and Access to Health Care Among Mexican-Americans," NBER Working Papers 13460, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Subramanian, S.V. & Elwert, Felix & Christakis, Nicholas, 2008. "Widowhood and mortality among the elderly: The modifying role of neighborhood concentration of widowed individuals," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(4), pages 873-884, February.
    7. Dora L. Costa & Joanna Lahey, 2003. "Becoming Oldest-Old: Evidence from Historical U.S. Data," NBER Working Papers 9933, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Peter Siminski, 2013. "Employment Effects of Army Service and Veterans' Compensation: Evidence from the Australian Vietnam-Era Conscription Lotteries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(1), pages 87-97, March.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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