Probably most of you know the familiar result that social status is one of the best predictors of personal health, even when adjusting for other measurable variables. David Cutler, Adriana Lleras-Muny and Tom Vogl have looked at the evidence more carefully and come up with the following:
This paper reviews the evidence on the well-known positive association
between socioeconomic status and health. We focus on four dimensions of
socioeconomic status — education, financial resources, rank, and race
and ethnicity — paying particular attention to how the mechanisms
linking health to each of these dimensions diverge and coincide. The
extent to which socioeconomic advantage causes good health varies, both
across these four dimensions and across the phases of the lifecycle.
Circumstances in early life play a crucial role in determining the
co-evolution of socioeconomic status and health throughout adulthood.
In adulthood, a considerable part of the association runs from health
to socioeconomic status, at least in the case of wealth. The diversity
of pathways casts doubt upon theories that treat socioeconomic status
as a unified concept.
In other words, "we don’t know." My simplistic view has long been that high status simply helps "keep the juices flowing," in Roissy-like fashion, and that’s good for you all over.
Can any of you high-status people find an ungated copy?