NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Explaining the Rise in Educational Gradients in Mortality

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

NBER Working Paper No. 15678
Issued in January 2010
NBER Program(s):   HC   HE

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.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w15678

Published: 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.

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