Positive and Negative Effects of Social Status on Longevity: Evidence from Two Literary Prizes in Japan
53 Pages Posted: 21 Apr 2016 Last revised: 18 Feb 2018
Date Written: February 15, 2018
It is widely believed that a rise in social status extends longevity. A handful number of studies examine datasets of candidates for prestigious prizes to exploit the causality. However, while some studies report positive relationships between receiving awards and recipients’ longevity, others report negative relationships. In this study, we show evidence that receiving a prize has both positive and negative causal effects on recipients’ longevity, by using a dataset covering Japan’s most prestigious and traditional literary recognitions, the Akutagawa and Naoki Prizes. The results reveal that the recipients of the Akutagawa Prize for new or emerging novelists exhibit lower mortality than their fellow nominees. The increase in longevity is estimated at 1.4 years. By contrast, the recipients of the Naoki Prize mainly for established novelists report higher mortality than their fellow nominees, and the decreased longevity is estimated at 5.2 years. We discuss with additional empirical analyses that we are likely to find a life-prolonging effect from receiving a prize when candidates belong to a lower social stratum. In so doing, our findings provide narrative explanations for why earlier studies show conflicting relationships between receiving awards and recipients’ longevity.
Keywords: Social Status, Mortality, Health Inequality, Cox’s Proportional Hazard Model, Time-dependent Covariates, Time-dependent Parameters
JEL Classification: I12, H14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation