When Life Expectancy Is Falling: Mortality Crises in Post-Communist Countries in a Global Context

Vladimir Popov (Editor)
Research Director, Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute, Berlin, Germany

Series: Public Health in the 21st Century
BISAC: MED078000



Volume 10

Issue 1

Volume 2

Volume 3

Special issue: Resilience in breaking the cycle of children’s environmental health disparities
Edited by I Leslie Rubin, Robert J Geller, Abby Mutic, Benjamin A Gitterman, Nathan Mutic, Wayne Garfinkel, Claire D Coles, Kurt Martinuzzi, and Joav Merrick


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This book is an attempt to analyse the unfavourable developments in the dynamics of mortality and life expectancy in post- communist countries in the global context. It appears that this mortality crisis in post-communist countries has a lot of similarities with the recent unfavourable developments in health status in developed countries and many developing countries. Such unfavourable trends have been caused by socio-economic, ‘non-material’ factors, namely by a loss of social dynamism and/or stress, associated with economic restructuring and social adjustments.

First, the stagnation of life expectancy in the former Soviet Union in 1965-90, after the rapid increase in 1920-65, is an important, under-researched phenomenon that enables study of the impact of the loss of social dynamism on health status. Second, the decline in life expectancy in the 1990s enables study of the impact of social stress on health status. Simplifying things, one can say that in the first case, life expectancy did not improve because there were too few changes in life, whereas in the second case, it declined due to excess changes that created stress. In both cases, however, the problem is that of finding an optimal measure of social changes that are beneficial to the quality of life and its longevity.

The main goal of this book is to analyse common reasons for these developments in order to derive lessons from the experiences of particular countries.
(Imprint: Nova Medicine and Health)



Chapter 1. Mortality and Life Expectancy in Post-Communist Countries: What Are the Lessons for Other Countries?
(Vladimir Popov, Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute, Berlin, Germany)

Chapter 2. A Theory of Why Potentially Favourable Political and Economic Changes May Lead to Mortality Crises
(Giovanni Andrea Cornia, University of Florence, Florence, Italy)

Chapter 3. Mortality Crises in High-Income Countries: Evidence from the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Greece
(Roberto De Vogli, University of Padua, Italy)

Chapter 4. The Mortality Crisis of the Former Soviet Bloc Countries, 1989-2014
(Giovanni Andrea Cornia, University of Florence, Italy)

Chapter 5. Mortality Crisis in Russia Revisited: Evidence from a Cross-Regional Comparison
(Vladimir Popov, Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute, Berlin, Germany)

Chapter 6. The Path of Economic Development and Health Status: Evidence from China
(Yue Teng and Luca Bortolotti, University of Trento, Trento, Italy, and University of Florence, Italy)

Chapter 7. Policy Reform from the Early 1990s and Changes in Health Status in India: 1991–2016
(C. P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India)

About the Authors


"A profound comparative study on life expectancy and the complexity of factors influencing its changes, especially the cases of decline in some countries in an era when economic progress should extend lifetimes. With the intellectual lead of professor Vladimir Popov as the editor of the volume, the book provides unique insight into an issue that ought to be a matter of concern not only for social policymakers but of all accountable people interested in fundamental global affairs. After all, this is about life and death." - Professor Grzegorz W. Kolodko, Kozminski University, Warsaw; author of Whither the Word: The Political Economy of the Future

"A cornucopia of information and explanation concerning the relationship between economic policy and mortality, especially in Russia, China and India. A controversial but nevertheless valuable resource for evidence-based economic and social policy." - Michael Ellman, Emeritus professor University of Amsterdam

"Falling life expectancy is one of the most serious economic and social problems facing post-communist countries. This insightful book is a must-read for policymakers, researchers, and general readers interested in the causes and consequences of this mortality crisis. It also offers a number of concrete and specific policy directions for those countries to overcome their demographic challenge and more broadly, regain their economic and social vitality and dynamism." - Professor Donghyun Park, Principal Economist, Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department, Asian Development Bank

Experts on life expectancy, stress, demographic and social issues. It will appeal to most people concerned with their health and longevity.

Mortality crisis, life expectancy, post-communist countries, Russia, China

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