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The growing importance of education as a fundamental cause of mortality in the United States

Drawing on a series of studies that closely examine how education is associated with mortality over time and across groups, this lecture showcases the ways in which the underlying association between education and the risk of death has changed since the mid 20th century. The first part of the talk highlights changes in the underlying functional form of the association. The second part of the talk introduces Age-Period-Cohort models that document the growing importance of education in establishing a cohort's morbidity phenotype and the receding influence of early childhood factors -- for some but not all population subgroups in the United States. The results highlight not only the importance of the shifts in educational composition of the population but also a fundamental shift in the importance of more and more education in garnering health advantages.