Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy

No 2007:7: Inequality in individual mortality and economic conditions earlier in life

Gerard van den Berg (), Maarten Lindeboom and Marta López
Additional contact information
Gerard van den Berg: IFAU - Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation, Postal: P O Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Maarten Lindeboom: Free University Amsterdam, Postal: De Boelelaan 1105, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Marta López: Free University Amsterdam, Postal: De Boelelaan 1105, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Abstract: We analyze the effect of being born in a recession on the mortality rate later in life in conjunction with social class. We use individual data records from Dutch registers of birth, marriage, and death certificates, covering the period 1815-2000, and we merge these with historical data on macro-economic outcomes and health indicators. We estimate duration models and inequality measures. The results indicate that being born in a recession increases the mortality rate later in life for most of the population. Lower social classes suffer disproportionally from being born in recessions. This exacerbates mortality inequality. This is not affected by social mobility: upward mobility does not vary much with the business cycle at birth, for each social class.

Keywords: Death; longevity; recession; life expectancy; lifetimes; social inequality; social class; health

JEL-codes: C41; E32; I12; J14; N13; N33

40 pages, February 18, 2007

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