IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Explaining the Rise in Educational Gradients in Mortality

  • David M. Cutler
  • Fabian Lange
  • Ellen Meara
  • Seth Richards
  • Christopher J. Ruhm

The long-standing inverse relationship between education and mortality strengthened substantially later in the 20th century. This paper examines the reasons for this increase. We show that behavioral risk factors are not of primary importance. Smoking has declined more for the better educated, but not enough to explain the trend. Obesity has risen at similar rates across education groups, and control of blood pressure and cholesterol has increased fairly uniformly as well. Rather, our results show that the mortality returns to risk factors, and conditional on risk factors, the return to education, have grown over time.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15678.

in new window

Date of creation: Jan 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Cutler, David M, Fabian Lange, Ellen Meara, Seth Richards-Shubik, and Christopher J Ruhme. 2011. Rising Educational Gradients in Mortality: The Role of Behavioral Factors. Journal of Health Economcis 30, no. 6: 1174-1187.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15678
Note: HC HE
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. James Smith, 2007. "Diabetes and the Rise of the SES Health Gradient," NBER Working Papers 12905, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Kenneth Y. Chay & Michael Greenstone, 2003. "The Impact Of Air Pollution On Infant Mortality: Evidence From Geographic Variation In Pollution Shocks Induced By A Recession," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1121-1167, August.
  3. Dana P. Goldman & James P. Smith, 2004. "Can Patient Self-Management Help Explain the SES Health Gradient?," HEW 0403004, EconWPA.
  4. David M. Cutler, 2008. "Are We Finally Winning the War on Cancer?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(4), pages 3-26, Fall.
  5. John Cawley & Richard V. Burkhauser, 2006. "Beyond BMI: The Value of More Accurate Measures of Fatness and Obesity in Social Science Research," NBER Working Papers 12291, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Harriet Duleep, 1989. "Measuring socioeconomic mortality differentials over time," Demography, Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 345-351, May.
  7. Michael Grossman, 1972. "The Demand for Health: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gros72-1, July.
  8. Kenkel, Donald S, 1991. "Health Behavior, Health Knowledge, and Schooling," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(2), pages 287-305, April.
  9. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Allison B. Rosen, 2009. "Is the U.S. Population Behaving Healthier?," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Policy in a Changing Environment, pages 423-442 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15678. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.