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    Why would any married person actually want to live longer?

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    Right, so I should definitely make my wife finish her Masters or maybe even encourage her to convert it to a PhD?

    Will these figures hold up over time when the proportion of highly educated women increases?? Right now there’s not a lot of 70+ y.o. females with Uni degrees compared to the rate of women in their 20/30s pursuing higher ed.

  3. 3

    Doctor Whom

    You’ve only grabbed half the problem:

    “For men, the wife’s education is more important for the mortality risk than his own education, when the man’s social class is included in the model. For women, the husband’s social class yields larger mortality differences than own occupational measures. Women’s education and men’s social class are particularly important for women’s deaths from circulatory diseases.”

    For women the man’s social class yields larger differences.

    Yes having and educated wife will help if you are a man but if you are a woman you’ll get more bang for your buck – so to speak – by marrying a man of a high socio-economic class.

    So the old adage is true for women: “F**k down if you like – but always marry up”
    economic class.

  4. 4

    Tony Richardson

    Of course my wife is smart. She married me!

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    My man is highly educated… and worn into the ground by his profession (which pays adequately, but not generously). I feel his health is not as robust as that of less educated friends, who earn good money in trades, and have a lot more free time. I also feel that while a focus on women’s education might make a feel-good headline, women prefer to marry up – and lots of men prefer to marry down. My education achievements are not as solid as my husband’s; our lifestyle agenda is set very much by his expectations of life. Most of my most highly achieving women friends are not married. Importantly, I have no real interest in prioritising my career over my family. As I looked around my first professional workplace after graduation I realised that the successful men had a secret weapon I could never have – a wife. they were the welldressed ones, with the family photos on the desk. The successful women in the office had no-one. They lived on takeaways, and dressed from the dirty laundry basket. The twelve hour days and endless workload got to me in the end, I was glad to marry. Educated women still end up picking up the dirty socks.

  6. 6


    I remember when I was doing an econometrics class at uni, the lecturer (a real stat’s nerd) was using American high school test scores to demonstrate regression methods. She mentioned a variety of variables can affect the outcome but said the variables most likely to improve a child’s test scores are socio-economic status (i.e how wealthy the family is) and the mother’s education attainment level. It’s funny that so many things can depend on this variable. The silver bullet maybe?

  7. 7


    Josh and Tony Richardson are running neck and neck for the Croakey comment of the week prize.

    Dr Whom, you’re right that I focused on only one aspect of the findings. I thought the education finding was the most interesting if anyone is interested trying to develop a policy response to findings like this. Seems that intervening to boost whole population’s education levels might be an easier/better ask than a focus on individual men’s social class. Also in view of the links between maternal education and infant mortality and child health generally.

  8. 8

    Doctor Whom

    Croakey – I have no argument or clever comments.

    It dose seem from numerous studies and data that the single most important thing one can do to extend life and improve the quality of life is to get an education beyond year 12. Man or Woman.

    Counter-intuitively even if the choice is between a job and education then the choice should be education.

    So the single best thing a society can do to improve health is to make progress to post -secondary education easy, by lowering barriers to entry financial, educational and geographical.

    One big lack of any sort of reasonable policy is how to help those who by background or financial imperatives are already in the workplace without post sec quals.

    At the moment to become a “mature” age student is a ritual of humiliation and barriers imposed by no weekend classes, no intensive blocks of teaching, limited tokenistic online courses, no access to library /lecturers/ tutors outside comfortable business hours say 10 – 4 four days a week.

    The RPL system looks good on paper but is an expensive hoax only able to be manipulated by those already in the academic system for their own advancement. (I think the RPL system is a a scandal that needs some investigation)


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