Why is male life expectancy so high in Israel?

by on February 3, 2017 at 12:14 am in Data Source, Law, Medicine | Permalink

A new study by the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel finds a relationship between the longevity of men in Israel and army service, which contributes to Israeli men’s better physical fitness

Main findings:

  • In 2013, the average life expectancy for men in Israel was 81 years, in contrast to the OECD average of 77.7 and a world average of 68.8 years.
  • Considering other variables that influence longevity – including wealth and education levels, the health system and the country’s general demographic profile – the Israeli advantage is large and increasing.
  • An analysis based on a sample of more than 130 countries found that military service added more than three years to male life expectancy.
  • This conclusion is reinforced in data showing the differences in the average life expectancy of men and women in Israel and in the OECD. In the 34 OECD countries, women live an average of 5.5 years longer than men, but in Israel, where military service is shorter and in most cases less physically demanding for women, women’s life expectancy is only 3 years longer.
  • While military service is an important component in public health, it has not yet been discussed in the academic literature on general health factors, nor has it been discussed in Israeli health literature.

Here is further information.  Here is a link to the cited report.  Here is the study itself.

I am very much against the draft outside of extreme military emergencies, but I suspect when the economic history of the American 20th century is written, the end of the draft will play some significant role in explaining the evolution of conditions for the deplorables.

For the pointer to this work I thank Rafi Bryl.

1 Elan February 3, 2017 at 12:23 am

An abundance of doctors and a Mediterranean diet probably doesn’t hurt either, but you are right that the gendered aspect of this points to military service.

Relatedly, there’s some evidence that conscription has a positive effect on the wages of lower-status men.
http://ftp.iza.org/dp5915.pdf
https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/app.4.4.57

2 Rich Berger February 3, 2017 at 7:09 am

Maybe the Israelis do this just to piss off the Palestinians

3 byomtov February 3, 2017 at 9:37 pm

+1

4 Doug February 3, 2017 at 8:47 am

> the gendered aspect of this points to military service.

Between countries, fertility rates explain a large fraction of the variance of male-female life expectancy differences. Israel has significantly higher fertility than other developed nations. I’d suspect that once you control for this the gendered difference is fully explained.

5 Joël February 3, 2017 at 2:26 pm

@Doug Why? You suggest higher fertility rate should cause higher women’s mortality?

Is it because of maternal death (death while giving birth)? The numbers don’t seem to suggest this: the rate of maternal death is about 2 for 10000 births in developed countries. If the number of births by woman is one more in Israel than in the US or France says (3 instead of 2), that means that 2/10000 more women will lose about 50 years of life in Israel than in the US, which makes a loss of 1/100 year by woman, way too small to explain the gendered difference.

6 Doug February 3, 2017 at 6:37 pm

@Joel

No, maternal mortality is much too low to explain the correlation. There’s a number of hypotheses, none of which are proven. One is that men with kids cut back on risky behavior like drinking, drugs and violence. These are major factors in the gender difference. Another is that cultures promoting female fertility, also tend to be less egalitarian. Social status is associated with health, so lower female status lowers their life expectancy. The third is that pregnancy, especially repeated, is rough on the body. It usually results in lower bone mineral density, less lean body mass and higher central obesity, all of which are bad for health. Finally it could be that babies, especially for moms, lead to chronic sleep deprivation, which is increasingly becoming evident leads long-term permanent health impact.

7 GoneWithTheWind February 3, 2017 at 11:16 am

Everyone with an agenda loves to grab on to these meaningless statistical anomalies and frame them to shine a favorable light on their belief system. Of course it is because of more exercise, or the diet or perhaps the religion, or that they eat less carbs or maybe because they eat a vegetable based diet or maybe because they eat a paleo diet or because they have socialized health care or because they are genetically jewish or maybe they eat organic or consume olive oil instead of vegetable oil or they don’t eat junk food or because they don’t consume much sugar. I suspect (her comes my bias) it is because they are family oriented and as a family they take care of their elders at home. But in fact most likely it is a statistical anomaly more related to the enormous statistical component of negative life span data from so many hell hole countries around the world dragging the statistics on the other side down. Then too is could be that comparing relatively small populations with very large and much more diverse populations simply results in bad conclusions. Naw! That would make too much sense…

8 Dzhaughn February 3, 2017 at 12:41 am

Don’t say “deplorables.” It’s a deplorable term from a deplorable world view.

9 Comment February 3, 2017 at 12:48 am

+1
Tyler should put it in quotes, especially considering he wants to attribute their deplorable condition to larger developmental trends out of their control. It wasn’t the lower middle class that demonstrated against the draft for Vietnam, it was bourgeois college students.

10 Miguel Madeira February 3, 2017 at 5:15 am

But the lower middle class was more against the war (and, possibly, also against the draft?):

http://reason.com/archives/2013/07/09/hardhats-for-peace-college-kids-for-war

11 Turkey Vulture February 3, 2017 at 7:09 am

“They draft the white trash first ’round here anyway.”

12 ClickByCommenter February 3, 2017 at 10:16 am

+1 Copperhead Road

13 JWatts February 3, 2017 at 1:03 pm

+1

14 A Black Man February 3, 2017 at 8:27 am

Guys like Tyler think they are safe behind the walls, while black shirts beat up the people he jokingly calls “deplorables.” History has never been kind to this way of thinking and it has been really unkind to those who indulge in it.

15 Sieben February 3, 2017 at 9:15 am

Don’t kid yourself. Tyler will always successfully pass himself off as a member of the “respectable” class. Let’s just be thankful we have someone like Tyler who can infiltrate the leftist media without supporting a $20 minimum wage.

16 A Black Man February 3, 2017 at 9:43 am

Don’t kid yourself. Tyler is solidly in the Progressive Establishment. His libertarianism is just some window dressing. In fact, most libertarians are just liberals who don’t like paying taxes.

17 anon February 3, 2017 at 10:29 am

True Libertarians have a hole in their head. They can’t understand what the other 97% even mean. They will see pragmatic utilitarianism, even with quite strong libertarian restraints, as “Progressive Establishment” because it tries to do something .. but as I say, they can’t really grasp what that is.

18 The Other Jim February 3, 2017 at 10:31 am

>libertarians are just liberals who don’t like paying taxes.

… and don’t like thinking about how to solve the drug problem.

But remember, he’s not libertarian – he only “leans” libertarian. And he sure as hell would never “vote” libertarian.

Now, let him get back to perfecting his carbon tax plans. It doesn’t get any more libertarian than that, does it?

19 Heorogar February 3, 2017 at 10:33 am

Bingo! It seems that libertarians embrace laissez-faire principles both in the fiscal/monetary and cultural arenas. I think Tyler (I love him, anyhow) is libertarian on cultural issues and elitist central-planner in the economics sphere.

20 Post-Truth Politics February 3, 2017 at 2:22 pm

Libertarians are just Republicans, pure and simple. What Congress members are Libertarians? Republicans, that’s who.

21 JWatts February 3, 2017 at 1:11 pm

“play some significant role in explaining the evolution of conditions for the deplorables.”

Wow Tyler. You’re going full bore on with the insulting language.

22 Aso February 3, 2017 at 1:54 pm

Here come the pc police!

23 roadrunner February 3, 2017 at 2:03 pm

Lighten up, the “deplorables” wear the term as a badge of honor at this point, especially after slaying the beast.

I suspect opposition to the term at this point is from folks trying to recover from that “own goal”

24 Mark Brophy February 3, 2017 at 8:26 pm

“Deplorables” is a good reminder of what Hillary Clinton and her supporters think of the rest of the country.

25 McMike February 3, 2017 at 12:47 am

My understanding of US public health history is that the early 20th century US military was appalled by the nutrition, sanitation, and dental hygene of its incoming troops.

This led in part to the fortification of foods with vitamins.

Seems to me that introducing discipline, fitness, purpose, toothbrushing, a warm bed, and three squares to the lives of 18 year olds could easily add a few years to their lives.

Except there’s the cigarettes…

26 George February 3, 2017 at 11:08 am

Well 30% of smoker don’t get cancer so they can still benefit

27 Markus Schär February 3, 2017 at 12:50 am

Switzerland – where the average life expectancy is one of the highest – seems to confirm this: All healthy men of the older generation had to serve in the army; their life expectancy is also 81+. And then, it doesn’t: Life expectancy for women is 85+, so the difference is also smaller than in the OECD. But: In this generation there was no military service for women at all. So, where does that leave us?

28 kevin February 3, 2017 at 7:27 am

What’s the life expectancy of those men immediately after the older generation who didn’t serve? There’s your answer. Regarding women, perhaps some of the discipline/hygiene/fitness aspects you learn in the military are transferred to your spouse

29 Excursive February 3, 2017 at 11:41 pm

Life expectancy of any group of people who lived is always higher than their earlier life expectancy. The life expectancy of an older generation still living will almost always exceed the life expectancy at birth of a younger generation. For example, the life expectancy now of any born before 1917 exceeds 100 years.

30 Todd Kreider February 3, 2017 at 1:06 am

And Cowen won’t mention a word about breakthroughs in health pills like NR, metformin, etc. (Metformin was page one of the NY Times in summer)

It’s nice that he links Israeli army and longevity. ((eye roll)) Here is the problem: Cowen is an economist who never took a science course in college. Nor have Summers, Krugman, Stiglitz, Sumner and the rest of your econ heros. That’s right, *zero* science courses despite getting a PhD in the elite colleges.

So stay tuned to what 7 Nobel laureates in biology say about NR and the results of their 2016 summer trial of 140 people taking NR for 8 weeks at 250mg and 500mg.

31 BC February 3, 2017 at 2:51 am

Not familiar with these health pills. Were these pills in widespread use only in Israel during the study period? If not, then why would they explain Israel’s advantage over other OECD countries?

32 dan1111 February 3, 2017 at 7:06 am

Metformin is a common diabetes drug that has been around for decades. Lately there has been some early evidence that it may have anti-aging properties.

NR is Nicotinamide riboside I guess? A vitamin.

I don’t see a connection to this specific study. I think this is just a case of “Why don’t you post on the thing I care about?”

33 Ricardo February 3, 2017 at 11:26 am

If those breakthroughs are available to Israeli men and not to anyone else (including Israeli women), then you have a point.

34 CD February 3, 2017 at 12:36 pm

I lack access to their transcripts, but I’m pretty sure all these fellas did baccalaureates at colleges whose distribution requirements include science courses.

35 Todd Kreider February 5, 2017 at 8:42 pm

No, there was no requisite for a basic science course when any of them went to college except I think at M.I.T.. The only requirement would have been a general Physics for Poets type class. These can be excellent, like the Physics for Presidents that Mueller has taught at Berkeley for many years, but I mean physics 101/102, biology 101/102 or chemistry 101/102.

Larry Summers intended to go into physics at M.IT. when just 16 but soon switched, according to Wikipedia. He probably took physics 101 but knew econ was more appealing to him early on. Obviously, he could have been an excellent scientist – that isn’t the point.

36 albatross February 6, 2017 at 9:09 am

Out of curiousity, where did you find their undergrad transcripts so you could verify that none had taken a science class in school?

37 Ari February 3, 2017 at 1:22 am

Coming from a combat soldier in the Israeli military, how can one possibly come to the conclusion that the longer life expectancy is due to demanding military training? Only somewhere around 10% of soldiers are combat, the other 90% undergo minimal training. Also these numbers don’t include the huge Arab and ultra orthodox population that dont draft at all. It seems a bit of a stretch to give all of the credit to the military.

38 stephan February 3, 2017 at 1:41 am

Is there a reason to think somehow Israelis may be leaner or fitter.? Maybe they walk a lot. When I visited Israel not for very long and of course this is anecdotal, I didn’t see many overweight people

39 Careless February 3, 2017 at 3:49 am

Well, Jews also live longer in the US than the average. They must have a high rate of military service here.

40 Careless February 3, 2017 at 4:06 am

For those who don’t know, Jews make up well under half a percent of the US military.

Anecdotally, my Jewish great uncles and great grandfathers somehow all avoided being drafted in WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. The last Jewish ancestors/ancestors’ brothers I have who served in the US military fought in the Civil War

41 So Much For Subtlety February 3, 2017 at 5:01 am

That is not something I would boast about

42 Thiago Ribeiro February 3, 2017 at 5:16 am

Why not? They probably know how to make the best deals.

43 Art Deco February 3, 2017 at 8:42 am

WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.

About 15% of the cohorts born during the period running from 1927-35 were posted to Korea. Not more than 20% of the 1944-51 cohorts were ever posted to VietNam. Not having had service there is quite normal. Even during the 1st World War, the sum of conscripts and wartime enlistments did not exceed 1/6th of the population who submitted registration cards to their draft board (which, at the end of the war, was supposed to include all men born between April 1872 and November 1900).

44 byomtov February 3, 2017 at 10:07 am

For those who don’t know, Jews make up well under half a percent of the US military.

OK. But you need to control for socioeconomic status and education levels before drawing any conclusions from that. Jews are very disproportionately from the middle-to-upper classes, and hold college and advanced degrees in very disproportionate numbers. So the proper comparison is with non-Jews who have the same characteristics.

45 Jack February 3, 2017 at 6:45 pm

I think anyone who claims on the internet to be a Jew should first have to produce two forms of proof, say, if male, a photo of his circumcised penis and proof of a triple digit IQ. There are all too many instances of anonymous posters on the internet claiming to be Jews or having Jewish ancestry and then saying something like, well no one in over a thousand years in my family has every done anything but usury or my great great grandfather in Russia told me that the best matzoh had that little secret ingredient, the blood of a little Christian boy. Just a suggestion.

46 AlanG February 3, 2017 at 8:05 am

Ari’s comment is right on. The paper acknowledges that religiosity has a positive effect on life expectancy and 15% (perhaps a little more) of the population is Orthodox (haredi) and by and large they don’t serve in the military. Israeli-Arabs make up 20% of the population and don’t serve in the military either. I wonder if TC read the paper as it covers this stuff. While military service may contribute to longevity, it is but one of a number of factors that does.

47 Bapak Sukarno February 3, 2017 at 2:33 am

What if any evidence is there that deplorables have a bigger belly than tenured economics professors? Is it the big sweater as opposed to the T-shirt that hides la difference? By the way, you don’t need to be coerced by military service in order to be continually fit. For some it’s fun … to run in the sun, and satisfying to sow with the hoe. Nevertheless Mel is hoping Don will soon shed the belly excess, because settling into hostile territory is proven method to maintain fitness and lose weight long after the age of military service, and, in addition, Don will benefit from a visit to Israeli settlements in the near future — the sweat, the heat of being continually hated and threatened by primitive neighbouring tribes is nowadays a health tonic (though not quite the elixir of life).

48 Larry Siegel February 3, 2017 at 4:53 am

Sow with the hoe, haven’t heard that one before.

49 BC February 3, 2017 at 3:06 am

This raises an interesting new way of looking at things. Most people nowadays are against a military draft for standard reasons but they favor mandatory K-12 education, possibly including physical education. That’s because we view military conscription as service or obligation to the state, but K-12 education is viewed as a *benefit* provided from the state to students. If there are human capital benefits to military service — not just gains to physical health but perhaps to mental discipline and toughness as well — then perhaps there is a case for compulsory military or military-like *training* that doesn’t necessarily include mandatory service, e.g., combat deployment. The military could gain from this as well since having more well trained people may make it easier to subsequently recruit voluntary enlistees.

Who knows, if the training were to also include some sort of grading and certification that employers found to be a valuable signal of discipline, conformity, etc., then people might actually even be willing to pay to receive such training. College acts as a good signal for white collar jobs; perhaps military training could provide signalling value for blue collar jobs.

50 kevin February 3, 2017 at 7:36 am

Much of this, “military training could provide signalling value for blue collar jobs.”, already happens. I don’t know how anyone could argue that military training doesn’t add capital benefits. The issue is the cost (or more likely the perceived cost) is much higher then k-12. Every time someone dies in the line of duty is weighed against the added capital benefits.

51 msgkings February 3, 2017 at 11:34 am

Universal service also could be a strong antidote to the atomization and polarization of society. A reversal of Murray’s “Coming Apart”. Would it be so bad for wealthy Americans to have to live with and work with poor Americans for a year? It doesn’t even have to be military for everyone, some kind of mandatory service (like a domestic Peace Corp, for both men and women) where you are randomly assigned with others ignoring race and class.

52 Daniel Weber February 3, 2017 at 11:46 am

I think America would be more skeptical of getting into wars if they all knew people who would have to fight and face the risks.

It’s not lost on me that this desire came about after I aged out of what would be the draft.

53 msgkings February 3, 2017 at 11:57 am

Yeah, easy for me to say being too old for it….but I have kids and I think it’d be a good thing for them.

54 dearieme February 3, 2017 at 12:28 pm

“Most people nowadays are against a military draft for standard reasons but they favor mandatory K-12 education”: and yet in some respects it resembles jail time for innocent parties. Odd, isn’t it?

55 prior_test2 February 3, 2017 at 3:45 am

‘I am very much against the draft outside of extreme military emergencies’

But planning for it likely increases economic growth, right? https://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/14/upshot/the-lack-of-major-wars-may-be-hurting-economic-growth.html?_r=0

56 anon February 3, 2017 at 4:43 am

The best sense I can make of the “deplorables” line is that 1) life has become too safe and boring for many, leading to conspiracy theory etc. and 2) all sectors have increased selectivity in hiring, and a draft can’t work because the military doesn’t want just anyone.

And so we have a bunch of basement dwellers, safe but unfit for “grunt” work? Becoming for lack of better employment a troll army?

57 anon February 3, 2017 at 5:12 am

Dylann Roof or Alexandre Bissonnette being the poster boys.

58 Thomas February 3, 2017 at 7:55 pm

Do you think your BLM and antifa friends could get in the service if they didn’t hate America?

59 So Much For Subtlety February 3, 2017 at 4:45 am

Let me suggest it has nothing to do with military service and everything to do with divorce:

The divorce rate in Israel has traditionally been lower than that of other industrialized countries. For example, according to OECD statistics, in 2009 the divorce rate in the country was 30%, while the US’s rate was 50%, France’s 52% and the UK’s 54%.

In the West, men have refused to sack up. Their wives hold the threat of financial ruin over their heads. They are pussy whipped. Faced with the real threat of violence, Israeli women do not lust after Islamic terrorists. They do not cruise refugee camps looking for rough trade to give them what their husbands no longer can. More Israeli women actually like their husbands.

Nagging has been shown to shorten husband’s lives. In the end it probably comes down to stress.

60 Thiago Ribeiro February 3, 2017 at 5:18 am

I knew it was women. When is it not women? American obsessions get funnier and funnier.

61 So Much For Subtlety February 3, 2017 at 6:11 am

As a famous American once said, Il y a une femme dans toutes les affaires ; aussitôt qu’on me fait un rapport, je dis : « Cherchez la femme!»

An American obsession indeed.

62 Turkey Vulture February 3, 2017 at 6:16 am

Don’t know French, but I am assuming that says “If you’re having girl problems I feel bad for you son, I’ve got 99 problems…”

63 Thiago Ribeiro February 3, 2017 at 6:42 am

It may have been an American who wrote it indeed, I would be surprised if it were Dumas: he lent his name for so many books (a kind of French Tom Clancy, if you will). Only Americans, among all peoples, believe women have magic powers to kill them through magic. I guess the Japanese women, like their Western counterparts, are heading their men to an early(ier) grave: their life expectancy is about seven years longer than men’s. In Singapore the diference is 5.5 years. In South Korea, it is 6.5 years, a little higher than in France. In Israel, it is not even four years. Israeli women are not living as much as they can (or maybe the Japanese, the South Koreans and other Western men are being ruthlessly oppressed by their women).

64 AlanG February 3, 2017 at 8:10 am

this is pretty bogus. Divorce rate is lower in Israel because it his harder to get. All marriages and divorce have to be done according to religious law. You cannot have a civil marriage or divorce in Israel. Only Orthodox rabbis can conduct marriages there. The Haredi (ultra-Orthodox and about 15% of the population) pretty much get married for life. It used to be that non-believers would fly to Cyprus to get a civil divorce and perhaps also re-marry there. A considerable number of people just co-habit with a partner if their marriage breaks down and never go through the steps of getting a religious divorce (I have several relatives who took this path). Thus, a fair number of people would never be on the books as “divorced” but in fact are no longer married in the traditional sense.

65 Art Deco February 3, 2017 at 8:19 am

Divorce rate is lower in Israel because it his harder to get.

As it should be. What the legal profession has made of matrimonial law in this country is a scandal.

66 AlanG February 3, 2017 at 8:59 am

Don’t most states have no-fault divorce laws? the only time things get bad is when there is considerable property to be divided in the absence of a pre-nup.

67 Art Deco February 3, 2017 at 9:26 am

the only time things get bad is when there is considerable property to be divided in the absence of a pre-nup.

Things get bad when the papers are served. Putz.

68 Thiago Ribeiro February 3, 2017 at 9:38 am

“Things get bad when the papers are served. Putz.”
I was under the distinct impression things got bad before the papers were served.

69 msgkings February 3, 2017 at 11:37 am

OK NOW I get it…Art is a childless bachelor, but he’s not gay. He’s bitterly divorced.

70 mm...hmmm February 3, 2017 at 6:01 pm

Divorce rate is lower in Israel because it is harder to get.

I “get” what you did there.

71 So Much For Subtlety February 3, 2017 at 6:54 pm

AlanG February 3, 2017 at 8:10 am

this is pretty bogus. Divorce rate is lower in Israel because it his harder to get.

No where did I suggest that divorce was easier to get. Nor did I venture into why the divorce rate was lower. I just noted it is. Which it is. So that would make your claim it is bogus an interesting one. Why do you think it is bogus when it is, you know, true?

irrelevant blah deleted

Thus, a fair number of people would never be on the books as “divorced” but in fact are no longer married in the traditional sense.

So you are saying that splitting up has the same impact as divorce? How do you know? A separation without divorce does not involve the traditional flaying of the former husband for one thing. So it doesn’t matter if they break up at the same rate as everyone else – and I would like to see evidence – if in fact men come out happier. Which is likely. Ask Mick Jagger about the difference between breaking up with the mother of your children and being reamed in the divorce courts.

72 N.K Anton February 3, 2017 at 9:31 am

If you are worried about women lusting after Islamic terrorists who don’t even have nice hipster beards and are probably very conservative in the bedroom, maybe the problem is with men – not the women.

Unless you are using “Islamic terrorist” to mean as “anyone that is not my demographic”…

73 So Much For Subtlety February 3, 2017 at 6:56 pm

I agree the problem is with men

74 Jason Bayz February 3, 2017 at 11:58 am

I laughed, but it’s probably not true. In Sweden, the most cucked country in the world, the gap is lower than it is Israel. See my map:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/19qZm_Udpc8XrjbkIx3EDO5DaSFMm7p751MGPtp37muY/pubchart?oid=40024782&format=interactive

Generally, when looking at some pattern, I analyze hypothesis in this order:

1. The pattern doesn’t exist.

2. The pattern is ethnic/racial.

3. The pattern is cultural.

4. The pattern is economic/historical.

75 anon February 3, 2017 at 4:58 am

What about a voluntary National Service? An employment of last resort, open to anyone. Two years of room and board, employment appropriate to skills, with job training open to all.

Would that pull in deplorables and give them a better life?

76 Tom G February 3, 2017 at 9:19 am

YES! I think so. Universal Basic Job — including junior military training for those who the Army currently doesn’t want, and also getting paid to go to school, to learn how to take care of kids, to learn how to take care of the elderly, to learn how to read & write (for those who can’t), do math — the things many poor Americans should know but don’t because their (Democrat dominated) gov’t schools failed to encourage them enough to learn.

Yes, it should be voluntary only. Those who do NOT volunteer are, however, agreeing that they are unwilling to work. That should also have consequences with respect to gov’t benefits, like reducing them until they do volunteer, or are living w/o gov’t handouts.

77 anon February 3, 2017 at 10:31 am

Thanks! I think their (Republican dominated) broken families(*) might have something to do with it too … but still large agreement.

* – if a deadbeat dad doesn’t start as a libertarian, he will find that excuse soon enough

78 Non February 3, 2017 at 1:22 pm

” many poor Americans should know but don’t because their (Democrat dominated) gov’t schools failed to encourage them enough to learn.”

Come on. That’s a cuckservative talking point and you know it.

79 Turkey Vulture February 3, 2017 at 6:01 am

Perhaps the men are in better physical condition not because the military training and experience itself made them more likely to pursue physical fitness throughout life, but because it gave them the sense of identity (as a soldier, as an Israeli) that made them less likely to engage in self-destructive behaviors throughout life.

And perhaps the effect was actually confined to a fairly small portion of men who otherwise would die much younger on average. Is the standard deviation of male life expectancy lower than in other OECD nations?

80 Axa February 3, 2017 at 7:44 am

You may be onto something.

Some researchers in Switzerland have found “low socioeconomic status” can be identified as a risk factor for premature mortality. In this research “Low socioeconomic status” was defined as occupational position. In more simple words: feeling poor between ages 40 and 85 is worse for your health than heavy drinking, obesity or hypertension. http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(16)32380-7/fulltext

Israel, the kibbutz is some attempt to develop a classless society. It may not be perfect in the sense of “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”. Also, not all people in Israel live like that, but at least some of them try. The Swiss, the like to describe themselves as a middle class country. Not particularly wealthy, but they expect to live their lives without any significant financial difficulty. Again, it may not be true in 100% of cases but that’s how it works for the most of people in Switzerland.

Now compare to the good old US and you can see all those “low socioeconomic status” men living a life a life full of anxiety. Perhaps compulsory draft is a placebo. It does not make society classless, but at least men feel society is classless because poor and rich must serve in the military.

(*) In Switzerland young people can opt out from military service and do civil service instead (objection of conscience), don’t know about Israel.

81 chuck martel February 3, 2017 at 6:08 am

Legendary Israeli Ariel Sharon lived to be 85 but the last eight years of his life were spent in a coma. Longevity isn’t everything, quality of life is significant as well.

82 Todd Kreider February 3, 2017 at 9:17 am

And this is where the health pills will come in handy.

83 msgkings February 3, 2017 at 11:39 am

Unicorns are handy too. Wake me when either shows up.

84 dearieme February 3, 2017 at 6:51 am

“the average life expectancy for men in Israel was 81 years”: I take it that that’s life expectancy at birth? I’d have thought that life expectancy at 18 would be more useful, not least because deaths during or soon after birth seem to be treated differently in different countries.

Anyway, for Britain the figure is 81.5, for Canada 81.3, for Japan 83.1. So the Israeli figure doesn’t seem particularly impressive to me though perhaps it would if I were American (78.7).

85 TMC February 3, 2017 at 10:17 am

Apples and oranges. What’s the Israeli life expectancy at 18?

86 dearieme February 3, 2017 at 12:29 pm

No idea. Do you?

87 TMC February 3, 2017 at 1:34 pm

Gave it a try, but assumed you had a source since you posted it.

88 byomtov February 3, 2017 at 7:06 pm

If you want to check the military service idea you should begin by looking at mortality before age 18. If there is a big enough difference there the military service is irrelevant.

89 Ted Craig February 3, 2017 at 7:04 am

From the Forward: “According to British census data, Jews live an average of five to six years longer than their gentile counterparts, and there may be nearly three times as many Jewish centenarians as in the general U.K. population.”

90 dearieme February 3, 2017 at 9:02 am

So it’s not sunny Israel, then? Put otherwise, why do Israelis live for so many years less than British Jews? It must be national service and all the foreign muck they eat.

91 Art Deco February 3, 2017 at 9:30 am

Jews are a religious category in Britain, not an ethnic group, and about 3/4 are Orthodox or Modern Orthodox. Most Jews are unaffiliated in the United States. In Israel, Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews tend to sit on a spectrum wherein there are different degrees of observance, while Ashkenazik Jews tend to be uncompromisingly one or the other.

Jews are such a small minority in Britian that it’s hard to produce reliable social statistics about them, btw.

92 rayward February 3, 2017 at 7:48 am

Military service? That’s a fine rationalization for mandatory military service. Longevity is more likely the result of abstinence: Jews don’t (or rarely) drink alcohol. My ancestors include Jews and Irish, which means I drink alcohol but not enough for it to interfere with earning a comfortable living.

93 rayward February 3, 2017 at 8:07 am

Besides, how much Manischewitz can one drink.

94 AlanG February 3, 2017 at 8:12 am

Jews don’t drink alcohol? Seriously, where do you get this from? Every time I’ve gone to Israel to visit my sister and other relatives I see as much drinking as in the US.

95 msgkings February 3, 2017 at 11:42 am

It is true Jews don’t drink as much as gentiles, they are certainly less likely to be alcoholic. But they smoke a sh*t-ton more weed. Maybe that’s a factor.

96 Art Deco February 3, 2017 at 8:17 am

They don’t have a WASP / Irish drinking culture. If I’m not mistaken, wine with dinner is pretty normal in Jewish households in this country.

97 rayward February 3, 2017 at 8:50 am

Here is just one of dozens of stories about recent studies that have found that Jewish genes avoid alcoholism among Jews: https://www.verywell.com/rare-gene-discourages-alcoholism-among-jews-63179

98 Tudsy February 7, 2017 at 4:55 am

Alcohol consumption is indeed very low in Israel. I also wonder about stronger social connections among Israeli men than at least American men. Diet, more walking are probably also a factor.

99 Art Deco February 3, 2017 at 8:14 am

Did anyone compare Israeli life expectancy to American Jewish life expectancy? Alcoholism is rare among American Jews, for starters. Is it the same in Israel.

100 Ted Craig February 3, 2017 at 8:45 am

Art,

As I commented above:
“According to British census data, Jews live an average of five to six years longer than their gentile counterparts, and there may be nearly three times as many Jewish centenarians as in the general U.K. population.”
U.S. Census data doesn’t break down by religion, but the results would probably be the same.

101 Art Deco February 3, 2017 at 9:32 am

I hear you, but there are 300,000 Jews in Britain. Producing valid social statistics on a population that contextually small is difficult. Also, British Jews are not American Jews. British Jews are modally Orthodox.

102 Brian Kearns February 3, 2017 at 8:16 am

A number of comments above point out different plausible causes, especially genetics. Really need genetically similar group without military service to evaluate. Nonetheless, just wanted to point out that if original post is correct, means that 30 months of exercise (military service) adds something like 36 months to life span.

103 The Anti-Gnostic February 3, 2017 at 8:35 am

the end of the draft will play some significant role in explaining the evolution of conditions for the deplorables.

The blue collar class that voted for Trump has high rates of participation in the military, Bubble Boy.

104 The Anti-Gnostic February 3, 2017 at 8:41 am

Or perhaps there is a subtler, Straussian reading. Or you could go the hamfisted route: ethno-nationalism is good for men.

105 Arnold Kling February 3, 2017 at 8:40 am

I was hoping that the answer was going to be that folk dancing increases longevity.

106 anon February 3, 2017 at 11:02 am

To the extent that it is in extended social networks and cohesive families, that’s documented.

107 dearieme February 3, 2017 at 12:31 pm

Then Scots would live a long time, and they don’t.

108 David R. Henderson February 3, 2017 at 8:41 am

Who are the deplorables?

109 anon February 3, 2017 at 10:37 am

In the original context it is the “troll army,” which probably would have been a better branding:

You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people — now 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive hateful mean-spirited rhetoric. Now, some of those folks — they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”

110 anon February 3, 2017 at 11:01 am
111 Danny February 3, 2017 at 9:21 am

Does this work control for the effects of regular fasting? I suspect that the Orthodox Jews must fast much more regularly than your average OECD resident. Fasting leads to improvements in insulin sensitivity, inflammation, fat catabolism, as well as activating protein autophagy pathways (believed to slow the rate at which mutations occur). Studies in rats and primates both demonstrate significant benefits in longevity from fasting. This is why I’m coming up on the end of a three-day fast right now 😉

112 Art Deco February 3, 2017 at 9:34 am

Eastern Christians (Orthodox and Catholic alike) who are serious about it do a great deal of fasting as well as observing abstinence. You might try comparing these populations.

113 Todd Kreider February 3, 2017 at 9:33 am

Countries where men’s life expectancy is 81:

Israel
Japan
Switzerland
Italy
Sweden
Australia

Countries where men’s life expectancy is 80:

New Zealand
Netherlands
Singapore
Spain
Norway
France
Canada
England
Finland

114 msgkings February 3, 2017 at 11:44 am

What are these figures from age 18? Because overall life expectancy includes infant mortality (and the differences in how that is counted) and premature death by violence and (auto) accident.

115 derek February 3, 2017 at 9:43 am

Who are the deplorables again? I’m certain a draft would go over really well at Berkeley and NYU as a means of directing the animal spirits manifest.

116 anon February 3, 2017 at 11:53 am

Nonviolent protest is an extremely powerful tool for social change, human rights. The trick, of course, is keeping it nonviolent. Sometimes tricky for a species that burns cars to celebrate sports victories.

117 Ted Craig February 3, 2017 at 9:50 am

Here’s some U.S. data: “In the United States, life expectancy at age 55 (average number of additional years lived beyond 55) for Jews is 27.7. This is two to seven years longer than any other large religious group in the United States.”

http://www.scienceandreligiontoday.com/2011/03/03/why-do-jews-tend-to-live-longer-than-members-of-other-religious-groups/comment-page-1/

118 Walt Guyll February 3, 2017 at 10:25 am

If the increase in lifespan is equivalent to years served in the military, it may be a wash, unless one enjoys Army life.

119 TMC February 3, 2017 at 10:26 am

Maybe it’s living next to you enemies? This will keep you on your toes, so fewer accidents by carelessness.

Remember the US troops had a lower mortality rate during the first Iraqi war than they had during peacetime.

120 Tyler Fan February 3, 2017 at 10:47 am

…says the fat gourmand.

121 Lanigram February 3, 2017 at 11:04 am

How can we be sure the effect is not due to some other latent function of military service, such as social network effects?

I think Tyler makes this case because it is aligned with his views about deplorables – they have earned their fate – short and brutish life – due to lack of execise, poor diet, drug and alcohol abuse, bad personal hygiene, refusal to study, and any other deplorable habit one can imagine. It is the fundamental attribution error writ large. Deplorable!

122 J February 3, 2017 at 11:16 am

Does military service prolongs life? For those fallen defending Israel, it certainly did not. Regarding physical fitness, less than ten percent of the male cohorts are admitted in “elite” combat battalions like Golani, Tzanhanim, etc. For the rest of us, military service is a long fishing trip with a group of friends, followed by annual “reserve” paid vacations, free from nagging females. However, it does instill lifelong healthy habits like eating Mediterranean diet, not smoking, no drugs, cleanliness, punctuality, discipline, purpose. Also going to the doctor for any reason (mostly to get a “guimel” – to escape unpleasant tasks).

123 Jason Bayz February 3, 2017 at 11:31 am

“Considering other variables that influence longevity – including wealth and education levels”

Liberal logic:

Education is good. Living long is good. Therefore, education causes longevity. Correlation? Causation proved!

Like the “Hispanic paradox” there isn’t much of a paradox here. Just liberalism failing to be supported by reality.

“This conclusion is reinforced in data showing the differences in the average life expectancy of men and women in Israel and in the OECD. In the 34 OECD countries, women live an average of 5.5 years longer than men, but in Israel, where military service is shorter and in most cases less physically demanding for women, women’s life expectancy is only 3 years longer.”

I created a chart of life the life expectancy gap between men and women, based on data here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/19qZm_Udpc8XrjbkIx3EDO5DaSFMm7p751MGPtp37muY/pubchart?oid=40024782&format=interactive

As you can see, Israel isn’t much of an outlier when compared to NW European countries.

“(…)I suspect when the economic history of the American 20th century is written, the end of the draft will play some significant role in explaining the evolution of conditions for the deplorables.”

Signalers gonna signal.

124 Dave Smith February 3, 2017 at 2:57 pm

A former President of my University thought the higher education should replace the military in all its former, recent roles at socializing young men.

If that’s a goal, it’s failing miserably.

125 Done that February 6, 2017 at 2:48 am

In Russia and Finland military service is obligatory for men only and the difference between life expectectations is exceptionally high.

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