Delaying death (Re: 2001 Ig Nobel Awards)

Russell Turpin
Fri, 05 Oct 2001 18:28:34 +0000

Gordon Mohr:
>My faves are the (apparently legit) research on "death elasticity", that 
>people postpone their death to qualify for improved estate tax changes. ..

There is actually something quite fascinating here. There
is other evidence that people apparently live longer when
there is some near event to which they look forward. This
study merely shows that even something as stupid as
estate tax change might qualify as such an event.  The
interesting thing is that this phenomena presents itself
with regard to deaths (a) where there seems to be very
little voluntary aspect, e.g., heart attacks, not suicides,
and (b) very little in way of a causal mechanism has been
proposed. Were I an epidemiologist, I would propose a
project to identify the kinds of death where this phenomena
plays the largest role, with some hope of identifiying
possible causal mechanisms.


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