Health, Hopelessness, and Social Norms

10 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2006

See all articles by Larry Willmore

Larry Willmore

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis

Date Written: June 2004


Following the break up of the Soviet Union, Russia experienced a rise in mortality unprecedented in the peacetime history of industrial nations. In just three years, from 1991 to 1994, life expectancy at birth fell six years for males (to 57.6) and three years for females (to 71.2). An important part of the ill health and high mortality of the Russian people can be attributed to feelings of hopelessness during the transition to a market economy, but an even larger part is a result of social norms that result in high consumption of alcohol and cigarettes, diets high in fat and low in fruits and vegetables, and lack of exercise.

Keywords: Russia, mortality, health

JEL Classification: I12, J11, P39

Suggested Citation

Willmore, Larry, Health, Hopelessness, and Social Norms (June 2004). Available at SSRN: or

Larry Willmore (Contact Author)

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis ( email )

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+43 2236 807 374 (Phone)


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