'Deaths of despair': A tale of two countries
Is stalling life expectancy in the US and UK due to the public spending cuts of recent years, or a long-term structural trend? What needs to be done? And might the pandemic accelerate solutions?
Last March, Professors Anne Case and Angus Deaton, two distinguished economists from Princeton University, published what became the must-read book of the year. That book was called Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism. It showed that health has deteriorated fastest in middle-aged white Americans, and that in this population, death rates from all causes are actually rising. The biggest increases were in deaths from suicide, drugs and alcohol driven by a lack of opportunity, growing inequalities, and bleak social and economic outlook. The so-called ‘deaths of despair’.
In the meantime, here in the UK, The Marmot Review: 10 Years On was published last February looking at national health trends in England. The review revealed stalling growth in life expectancy nationally – and a reversal among people living in the poorer areas of England, in particular women.
Is this due to the public spending cuts of recent years, or a long-term structural trend? What needs to be done? And might the pandemic accelerate solutions?
In this episode, our Chief Executive Dr Jennifer Dixon is joined by two expert guests:
- Professor Sir Angus Deaton, co-author of Deaths of Despair, and Emeritus Professor of Economics at Princeton University. Professor Deaton was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2015.
- Sarah O’Connor, Employment Columnist for the Financial Times.
- The Health Foundation's COVID-19 impact inquiry
- Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism
- Jennifer's book review of Deaths of Despair for Political Quarterly
- The Marmot Review: 10 Years On
- Left behind: can anyone save the towns the economy forgot?
- Find out more about the Health Foundation podcast