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.
Thomas Goldring was supported in part by Carnegie Mellon University's Program in Interdisciplinary Education Research (PIER) funded by grant number R305B090023 from the U.S. Department of Education. This paper uses data obtained from the public-use file of the National Longitudinal Mortality Study. The file is provided to persons interested in research by the U.S. Census Bureau. The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Longitudinal Mortality Study, the Bureau of the Census, or the project sponsors: the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute on Aging, and the National Center for Health Statistics. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
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