Widening mortality gap adults with and without a BA: note current declining LE for both;see commentary on labor power

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June Zaccone

Oct 1, 2023, 12:14:11 PM10/1/23
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Accounting for the widening mortality gap between American adults with and without a BA

Anne Case Professor of Economics and Public Affairs - Princeton University
Angus Deaton September 27, 2023

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“GDP may be doing great, but people are dying in increasing numbers, especially less-educated people,” Anne Case, one of the authors, said in an interview with The Brookings Institution. “A lot of the increasing prosperity is going to the well-educated elites. It is not going to typical working people.”

She and co-author Angus Deaton, the winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in economics, both of Princeton University, analyzed U.S. death certificate information, including the age of death, cause of death, and educational attainment. They found that life expectancy for the college educated in 2021 was eight-and-a-half years longer than for the two-thirds of American adults without a bachelor’s degree. That’s more than triple the 1992 gap of about two-and-a-half years.


Deaths of despair were the leading driver of the widening mortality gap over the past 30 years, but the gap also widened for most other major causes of death, the paper notes. Cancer mortality, for instance, has declined overall but it has declined more for people with college degrees.


This is not a story about education. This is a story about inequality. .... as Case and Deaton make clear, college degrees here are a proxy for socioeconomic class, and the differing life experiences that America inflicts on different classes.

....For all of the complexity of America’s socioeconomic problems, the overriding practical solution to most of them is straightforward: Labor power must increase. Union density must go up. More workers must be able to organize and collectively bargain and strike. Remember a couple months ago when the Teamsters won a healthy six-figure pay package for hundreds of thousands of UPS workers, by exerting unified labor power? Yeah. That’s how it’s done. Blue collar jobs held by people without college degrees do not automatically carry with them shitty pay and nonexistent benefits leading directly to poor health and despair and death, due to some sort of natural economic law.....

June Zaccone
National Jobs for All Network
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