“Deaths of Despair”

Listen 49:00
Anne Case and Angus Deaton, Princeton economists and husband-and-wife co-authors of the new book,

Anne Case and Angus Deaton, Princeton economists and husband-and-wife co-authors of the new book, "Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism." (photo credit, Rebecca Wilcox)

Why has life expectancy fallen in the United States in recent years? Princeton economists ANGUS DEATON and ANNE CASE published a now famous paper a few years ago linking deaths from overdose, suicide and alcoholism together to explain why so many Americans, particularly white Americans, were dying prematurely. They named them “deaths of despair” and tied them to lost economic opportunities. Now with the pandemic causing millions of Americans to lose their jobs and to isolate at home, there’s concern that there we will see an even greater mental health crisis and more extreme economic inequality. This hour, we talk to Deaton and Case, who are also a married couple, about their new book, Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism and how inequities in our economic system are leading to lost lives.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal