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The results also show the gender differences in the association

between educational attainment and mortality compression in the

United States. Consistent with the findings of Brown et al. (2012),

within educational groups, women have significantly higher life

expectancies, higher modal ages of death, more compressed

mortality, and more rectangular survival curves than do men. The

results of the study replicate the similarities found in Brown et al.

(2012) between the least-educated women and men with some

college and above. However, men who have completed college (16+

years) have a better mortality profile than that of least-educated

women in terms of life expectancy and modal age of death.

Furthermore, although the significant gender gaps exist at any given

level of education, the gaps shrink with increased education. As

pointed out in Brown et al. (2012), complex biological,

socioenvironmental, and sociobehavioral factors may be deeply

involved in the gender differences, and education and gender

differences in smoking histories could play an important role.

This study is not without its limitations. First, while education

plays an important role as a “fundamental cause” of mortality

disparities (Link & Phelan, 1995; Phelan & Link, 2005),

educational attainment per se is subject to multiple social factors,

which include early life background. A life-course perspective to

understand the socioeconomic origins of mortality compression,

known as the “long arm of childhood,” is another important

research topic, and future research needs to address this issue

(Blackwell, Hayward, & Crimmins, 2001; Haas, 2007, 2008;

Hayward & Gorman, 2004; Kuh & New Dynamics of Ageing

Preparatory Network, 2007). Secondly, even though the HRS

respondents are followed into institutions, meaning that some

institutional respondents are included in the current data, the

institutional population was not initially included in the HRS sample

at baseline interview. Therefore, I observe slightly lower estimated

mortality rates than those that are found in the national life tables

(results not shown). Thirdly, the study does not distinguish the