Dying to Win? Olympic Gold Medals and Longevity

54 Pages Posted: 19 Mar 2014 Last revised: 2 Apr 2018

See all articles by Adam Leive

Adam Leive

University of Virginia - Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy

Date Written: March 27, 2018

Abstract

This paper compares mortality between Gold and Silver medalists in Olympic Track and Field to study how achievement influences health. Contrary to conventional wisdom, winners die over one year earlier than losers. Data on pre-Olympic performances and each athlete’s career length suggest that selection is unlikely to explain the results. There is suggestive evidence that income may be one mechanism: losers pursued higher-paying occupations than winners after the Olympics according to individual Census records. How people respond to success or failure in pivotal life events may produce long-lasting consequences for health.

Keywords: health, mortality, ranking, achievement

JEL Classification: I12, I31, J10

Suggested Citation

Leive, Adam, Dying to Win? Olympic Gold Medals and Longevity (March 27, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2410519 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2410519

Adam Leive (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy ( email )

235 McCormick Rd.
P.O. Box 400893
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4893
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
250
Abstract Views
2,442
rank
125,250
PlumX Metrics