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Positive and Negative Effects of Social Status on Longevity: Evidence from Two Literary Prizes in Japan

Shusaku Sasaki, Hirofumi Kurokawa and Fumio Ohtake ()

ISER Discussion Paper from Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University

Abstract: 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.

Date: 2016-04, Revised 2018-02
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-age and nep-hea
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Journal Article: Positive and negative effects of social status on longevity: Evidence from two literary prizes in Japan (2019) Downloads
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