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Charles RAHAL et Aaron REEVES (University of Oxford) – “The Legacy of Longevity : Persistent inequalities in UK life expectancy 1500-2016”

September 26, 2019, 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm

The Sociology Seminar: Thursdays

Time: 12:00 pm – 1:15 pm
Date: 26th of September 2019
Place: Room 3105, ENSAE.

Charles RAHAL et Aaron REEVES (University of Oxford) – “The Legacy of Longevity: Persistent inequalities in UK life expectancy 1500-2016

Abstract : That global life expectancy has more than doubled within the previous two centuries is—by any objective standard⁠—something miraculous to behold, and the academic literature across the fields of economics, demography, public health and evolutionary biology have all contributed to our understanding of the mechanisms behind the variations in the demographic transitions in mortality. We focus on the effect of the income differential on health gradients through the life expectancies of the tertiary universe of descendants of the British aristocracy and the general population. We use a dataset of 127,523 offspring up to three generations deep, meticulously curated from 7,161 individual sources including 6,756 instances of direct correspondence with aristocratic families. Using this unstructured free-text data on date of birth and death and information on the general population, we develop lifetable-based methodologies to provide five distinct findings. We first rail against the so called `peerage paradox’: that lifespans between aristocrats (and their families) was equivalent to the general population until the turn of the 19th century. Secondly, the mortality transition of elites occurred around 100 years earlier than for the general public (with considerable relative improvements of approximately 30% during the industrial revolution(s)). Thirdly, male aristocratic offspring fared less well than the general population during both the Great War and the Second World War, consistent with the existing evidence base. Fourthly, life expectancies equalized at the same time as the introduction of the National Health Service Act 1946. Finally, tentative evidence suggests that this gap has, however, begun to re-emerge since the 1980s.

Organizers :

Jeanne GANAULT, Céline GOFFETTE, Sander WAGNER (Laboratoire de sociologie quantitative – CREST)

Sponsors :



September 26, 2019
1:00 pm - 2:15 pm
Event Category: