The Limits to Equivalent Living Conditions: Regional Disparities in Premature Mortality in Germany

Journal of Public Health, 26 (3), 2018, pp. 309-319

23 Pages Posted: 31 May 2018

See all articles by Thomas Pluemper

Thomas Pluemper

Vienna University of Economics and Business - Department of Socioeconomics; University of Essex - Department of Government

Denise Laroze

University of Santiago, Chile - Centre for Experimental Social Sciences (CESS)

Eric Neumayer

London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

Date Written: May 18, 2018

Abstract

Aim: Despite the country’s explicit political goal to establish equivalent living conditions across Germany, significant inequality continues to exist. We argue that premature mortality is an excellent proxy variable for testing the claim of equivalent living conditions since the root causes of premature death are socioeconomic.

Subject and Methods: We analyse variation in premature mortality across Germany’s 402 districts and cities in the year 2014.

Results: Premature mortality spatially clusters among geographically contiguous and proximate districts/cities and is higher in more urban places as well as in districts/cities located further North and in former East Germany. We demonstrate that, first, socioeconomic factors account for 62 percent of the cross-sectional variation in years of potential life lost and 70 percent of the variation in the premature mortality rate. Second, we show that these socioeconomic factors either entirely or almost fully eliminate the systematic spatial patterns that exist in premature mortality.

Conclusion: On its own, fiscal redistribution, the centrepiece of how Germany aspires to establish its political goal, cannot generate equivalent living conditions in the absence of a comprehensive set of economic and social policies at all levels of political administration, tackling the disparities in socioeconomic factors that collectively result in highly unequal living conditions.

Keywords: premature mortality, living standards, health policy, socioeconomic, regional inequality

Suggested Citation

Plümper, Thomas and Laroze, Denise and Neumayer, Eric, The Limits to Equivalent Living Conditions: Regional Disparities in Premature Mortality in Germany (May 18, 2018). Journal of Public Health, 26 (3), 2018, pp. 309-319. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3180903 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3180903

Thomas Plümper

Vienna University of Economics and Business - Department of Socioeconomics ( email )

Vienna
Austria

University of Essex - Department of Government ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.polsci.org/pluemper

Denise Laroze

University of Santiago, Chile - Centre for Experimental Social Sciences (CESS) ( email )

Concha y Toro 32C
Santiago
Chile

Eric Neumayer (Contact Author)

London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
+44 207 955 7598 (Phone)
+44 207 955 7412 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://personal.lse.ac.uk/neumayer

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