Was What Ail'd Ya' What Kill'd Ya'?
Making use of those Union Army veterans for whom death certificates are available, we compare the conditions with which they were diagnosed by Civil War pension surgeons to the causes of death on the certificates. We divide the data between those veterans who entered the pension system early because of war injuries and those who entered the pension system after the 1890 reform that made it available to many more veterans. We examine the correlation between specific conditions and death causes to gauge support for the hypothesis that death is attributable to something specific. We also examine the correlation between the accumulation of rated conditions to time until death to gauge support for the "insult hypothesis." In general, we find support for both hypotheses. Examining the hazard ratios for dying of a specific condition, there is support for the idea that what ail'd ya' is what kill'd ya'.
Fogel is Charles R. Walgreen Distinguished Service Professor, Booth School of Business, University of Chicago. Cain is Professor of Economics at Loyola University Chicago and Adjunct Professor of Economics at Northwestern University. All the authors are associated with the Center for Population Economics (CPE) at the University of Chicago. Earlier versions of this paper were presented to the Workshop on the Economics and Biodemography of Aging, University of Chicago, the Economic History Workshop at Northwestern University, the annual meeting of the Economic History Association, and the annual meeting of the Social Science History Association. We thank Michael Haines, Ann Keating, and all the seminar participants for their comments. Special thanks to epidemiologist Lauren E. Cain for her help with the empirical work. This work was supported in part by NIH program project grant P01 AG10120. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Fogel, Robert W. & Cain, Louis & Burton, Joseph & Bettenhausen, Brian, 2013. "Was what ailâd ya what killâd ya?," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 269-280. citation courtesy of