The Weaker Sex? Vulnerable Men, Resilient Women, and Variations in Sex Differences in Mortality Since 1900

55 Pages Posted: 13 Oct 2016

See all articles by Mark R. Cullen

Mark R. Cullen

Stanford University

Michael Baiocchi

Stanford University

Karen Eggleston

Stanford University - Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (APARC)

Pooja Loftus

Stanford University

Victor R. Fuchs

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 12, 2016

Abstract

Sex differences in mortality (SDIM) vary over time and place as a function of social, health, and medical circumstances. The magnitude of these variations, and their response to large socioeconomic changes, suggest that biological differences cannot fully account for sex differences in survival. We develop a set of empiric observations about SDIM with which any theory will have to contend. We draw on a wide swath of mortality data, including probability of survival to age 70 by county in the United States, the Human Mortality Database data for 18 high-income countries since 1900, and mortality data within and across developing countries over time periods for which reasonably reliable data are available. We show that as societies develop, M/F survival first declines and then increases, a “SDIM transition” embedded within the well-described demographic and epidemiologic transition. After the onset of this transition, cross-sectional variation in SDIM exhibits a consistent pattern of female resilience to mortality under adversity, which strengthens over time.

Suggested Citation

Cullen, Mark R. and Baiocchi, Michael and Eggleston, Karen and Loftus, Pooja and Fuchs, Victor R., The Weaker Sex? Vulnerable Men, Resilient Women, and Variations in Sex Differences in Mortality Since 1900 (September 12, 2016). Stanford Asia Health Policy Program Working Paper No. 41. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2850701 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2850701

Mark R. Cullen (Contact Author)

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Michael Baiocchi

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Karen Eggleston

Stanford University - Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (APARC) ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Pooja Loftus

Stanford University

Victor R. Fuchs

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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