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Exploring the conditions for a mortality crisis: bringing context back into the debate
Billingsley, Sunnee
Universitat Pompeu Fabra
This study engages with the debate over the mortality crises in the former Soviet Union and Central and Eastern Europe by 1) considering at length and as complementary to each other the two most prominent explanations for the post-communist mortality crisis, stress and alcohol consumption; 2) emphasizing the importance of context by exploiting systematic similarities and differences across the region. Differential mortality trajectories reveal three country groups that cluster both spatially and in terms of economic transition experiences. The first group are the countries furthest west in which mortality rates increased minimally after the transition began. The second group experienced a severe increase in mortality rates in the early 1990s, but recovered previous levels within a few years. These countries are located peripherally to Russia and its nearest neighbours. The final group consists of countries that experienced two mortality increases or in which mortality levels had not recovered to pre-transition levels well into the 21st century. Cross-sectional time-series data analyses of men’s and women’s age and cause-specific death rates reveal that the clustering of these countries and their mortality trajectories can be partially explained by the economic context, which is argued to be linked to stress and alcohol consumption. Above and beyond many basic differences in the country groups that are held constant—including geographically and historically shared cultural, lifestyle and social characteristics—poor economic conditions account for a remarkably consistent share of excess age-specific and cause-specific deaths.
Mortalitat -- Aspectes econòmics -- Antiga Unió Soviètica
Mortalitat -- Aspectes econòmics -- Rússia
Alcohol consum -- Antiga Unió Soviètica
Alcohol -- Consum -- Rússia
Alcohol consumption
Economic context
Health behaviour
© 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. This is the pre-peer reviewed version of the following article: Billingsley S. Exploring the conditions for a mortality crisis: bringing context back into the debate. Population, Space and Place. 2011; 17(3): 267-289, which has been published in final form at

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