Jail and the Case-Deaton Thesis

The 21st century has witnessed remarkable decay in the well-being of many non-Hispanic white Americans. In a new report, economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton document that non-Hispanic whites who have a high school education or less have experienced reduced life expectancy and increased rates of suicide and addiction. Recent correctional system data highlight another dimension of this population’s travails: they are increasingly spending time in jail.

For the rest of the story, see my latest piece at Washington Post.

Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over thirteen thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.

One thought on “Jail and the Case-Deaton Thesis”

  1. The Case & Deaton paper is a greatly expanded version of their opening shot, a great data currant cake with a pleasantly Victorian feel – the first equation is on page 35. All the many charts are at the end in an appendix.

    There is an issue here for the public reception of social science. Keith rightly puts a chart in his short op-ed. Charts and maps are how we visual animals take in new information. Authors of papers aiming at a public impact should consider always including one headline chart in the summary.

    The data underline the need for universal health care in the USA, independent of employment. This holds even if the trends in mortality from despair cannot be reversed quickly, or at all. Sick and suffering people need help.

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