How to Live Longer (Ep. 109)
Our latest Freakonomics Radio on Marketplace podcast is called “How to Live Longer.” (You can download/subscribe at iTunes, get the RSS feed, listen via the media player above, or read the transcript here.)
It looks into why Hall of Fame inductees, Oscar winners, and Nobel laureates seem to outlive their peers. The deeper question in the podcast concerns the relationship between status (not income!) and longevity — a fascinating, complex, and controversial topic (here’s a good place to start reading) about which I believe we’ll hear a great deal in years to come. It will be valuable to know what kind of “status boosts” confer health advantages and, conversely, how disappointment and the like can chip away at us.
This podcast was timed to coincide with two events this week: the annual Baseball Hall of Fame election, in which no players were selected this year for the first time since 1996 (here’s ESPN’s take and here’s a useful statistical snapshot); and the announcement of this year’s Oscar nominees.
Accordingly, here’s some of the research you’ll hear about in the podcast:
- “Mortality and the Baseball Hall of Fame: An Investigation Into the Role of Status in Life Expectancy,” by David J. Becker, Kenneth Y. Chay, and Shailender Swaminathan.
- “Survival in Academy Award-Winning Actors and Actresses,” by Donald Redelmeier (who has appeared here before, including in our “Bring on the Pain!” podcast) and Sheldon Singh. Also, for a challenge to the Redelmeier-Singh paper, see: “Do Oscar Winners Live Longer than Less Successful Peers? A Reanalysis of the Evidence,” by Marie-Pierre Sylvestre, Ella Huszti, and James A. Hanley.
- “Mortality and Immortality: The Nobel Prize as an Experiment Into the Effect of Status Upon Longevity,” by Andrew J. Oswald and Matthew D. Rablen
- “Old-Age Longevity and Mortality-Contingent Claims,” by Tomas J. Philipson and Gary S. Becker
I am curious to hear from readers on this topic: whether from an empirical or anecdotal perspective, what are some ideas that you personally embrace in the hopes (if you have such hopes!) of living a very long life?
Also, FWIW: next week’s podcast is called “Who Owns the Words That Come Out of Your Mouth?” It’s about Winston Churchill, British vs. American copyright law, and a few other exciting things.