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Mortality and Immortality

  • Rablen, Matthew D.
  • Oswald, Andrew J.

    (University of Warwick)

It has been known for centuries that the rich and famous have longer lives than the poor and ordinary. Causality, however, remains trenchantly debated. The ideal experiment would be one in which status and money could somehow be dropped upon a sub-sample of individuals while those in a control group received neither. This paper attempts to formulate a test in that spirit. It collects 19th-century birth data on science Nobel Prize winners and nominees. Using a variety of corrections for potential biases, the paper concludes that winning the Nobel Prize, rather than merely being nominated, is associated with between 1 and 2 years of extra longevity. Greater wealth, as measured by the real value of the Prize, does not seem to affect lifespan.

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File URL: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/workingpapers/2008/twerp_785.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Warwick, Department of Economics in its series The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) with number 785.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:785
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Web page: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/

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  1. Miller, Douglas L. & Paxson, Christina, 2006. "Relative income, race, and mortality," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 979-1003, September.
  2. James P. Smith, 1999. "Healthy Bodies and Thick Wallets: The Dual Relation between Health and Economic Status," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 145-166, Spring.
  3. Sheryl Ball & Catherine Eckel & Philip J. Grossman & William Zame, 2001. "Status In Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 161-188, February.
  4. Adams, Peter & Hurd, Michael D. & McFadden, Daniel & Merrill, Angela & Ribeiro, Tiago, 2003. "Healthy, wealthy, and wise? Tests for direct causal paths between health and socioeconomic status," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 112(1), pages 3-56, January.
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  7. Fershtman, C. & Murphy, K.M., 1993. "Social Status, Education and Growth," Papers 8-93, Tel Aviv.
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  9. Bruno S. Frey, 2005. "Knight Fever – Towards an Economics of Awards," CESifo Working Paper Series 1468, CESifo Group Munich.
  10. Gardner, Jonathan & Oswald, Andrew, 2004. "How is mortality affected by money, marriage, and stress?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 1181-1207, November.
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  12. Stephen E. Snyder & William N. Evans, 2006. "The Effect of Income on Mortality: Evidence from the Social Security Notch," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(3), pages 482-495, August.
  13. Frijters, Paul & Haisken-DeNew, John P. & Shields, Michael A., 2005. "The causal effect of income on health: Evidence from German reunification," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(5), pages 997-1017, September.
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  15. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy & Ivan Werning, 2005. "The Equilibrium Distribution of Income and the Market for Status," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(2), pages 282-310, April.
  16. Bruce A. Weinberg & David W. Galenson, 2005. "Creative Careers: The Life Cycles of Nobel Laureates in Economics," NBER Working Papers 11799, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Layard, Richard, 1980. "Human Satisfactions and Public Policy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(363), pages 737-50, December.
  18. MatthewD. Rablen, 2008. "Relativity, Rank and the Utility of Income," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(528), pages 801-821, 04.
  19. Paul Frijters & John Haisken-DeNew & Michael Shields, 2005. "Socio-Economic Status, Health Shocks, Life Satisfaction and Mortality: Evidence from an Increasing Mixed Proportional Hazard Model," CEPR Discussion Papers 496, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
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