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Mortality as an Indicator of Economic Success and Failure


  • Amartya Sen


Amartya Sen, the Nobel economist, explains why mortality should, or could, be an indicator of economic success. While mortality is not in itself an economic phenomenon, the influences that increase or reduce mortality often have distinctly economic causes. Consequently there is a prima facie reason for not dismissing mortality as a test of economic performance. He argues that mortality information can throw light on the nature of social inequalities, including gender bias and racial disparities; biases in economic arrangements are often most clearly seen through differential mortality information. He advises that we look beyond the standard statistics of incomes and earnings into the real information on deprivation and hardship.

Suggested Citation

  • Amartya Sen, 1995. "Mortality as an Indicator of Economic Success and Failure," Papers innlec95/2, Innocenti Lectures.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucf:innlec:innlec95/2

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    developing countries; economic development; economic indicators; mortality rate; social inequality;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement


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