Testing for Changes in the SES-Mortality Gradient When the Distribution of Education Changes Too

Thomas Goldring, Fabian Lange, Seth Richards-Shubik

NBER Working Paper No. 20993
Issued in February 2015
NBER Program(s):Aging, Health Economics

We develop a flexible test for changes in the SES-mortality gradient over time that directly accounts for changes in the distribution of education, the most commonly used marker of SES. We implement the test for the period between 1984 and 2006 using microdata from the Census, CPS, and NHIS linked to death records. Using our flexible test, we find that the evidence for a change in the education-mortality gradient is not as strong and universal as previous research has suggested. Our results indicate that the gradient increased for females during this time period, but we cannot rule out that the gradient among males has not changed. Informally, the results suggest that the changes for females are mainly driven by the bottom of the education distribution.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w20993

Published: Thomas Goldring & Fabian Lange & Seth Richards-Shubik, 2016. "Testing for changes in the SES-mortality gradient when the distribution of education changes too," Journal of Health Economics, vol 46, pages 120-130. citation courtesy of

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