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http://ssrn.com/abstract=653081
 
 

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Autopsy on an Empire: Understanding Mortality in Russia and the Former Soviet Union


Elizabeth Brainerd


Brandeis University - Department of Economics; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

David M. Cutler


Harvard University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

January 2005

IZA Discussion Paper No. 1472; William Davidson Institute Working Paper No. 740

Abstract:     
Male life expectancy at birth fell by over six years in Russia between 1989 and 1994. Many other countries of the former Soviet Union saw similar declines, and female life expectancy fell as well. Using cross-country and Russian household survey data, we assess six possible explanations for this upsurge in mortality. Most find little support in the data: the deterioration of the health care system, changes in diet and obesity, and material deprivation fail to explain the increase in mortality rates. The two factors that do appear to be important are alcohol consumption, especially as it relates to external causes of death (homicide, suicide, and accidents) and stress associated with a poor outlook for the future. However, a large residual remains to be explained.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 72

Keywords: health, mortality, Russia, Eastern Europe

JEL Classification: I12, J10, P36

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Date posted: January 24, 2005  

Suggested Citation

Brainerd, Elizabeth and Cutler, David M., Autopsy on an Empire: Understanding Mortality in Russia and the Former Soviet Union (January 2005). IZA Discussion Paper No. 1472; William Davidson Institute Working Paper No. 740. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=653081

Contact Information

Elizabeth Brainerd (Contact Author)
Brandeis University - Department of Economics ( email )
Waltham, MA 02454-9110
United States
Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany
David M. Cutler
Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )
Littauer Center, Room 315A
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-5216 (Phone)
617-495-8570 (Fax)
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-868-3900 (Phone)
617-868-2742 (Fax)
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