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I. Introduction

A. Mortality Compression

It has been over three decades since Fries (1980) introduced the

concept of mortality compression in 1980 and offered the United

States as an example. Mortality compression refers to the increasing

concentration of deaths at older ages along with the phenomenon of

the increasingly rectangular survival curve. Cheung and her

colleagues have investigated trends associated with age of death and

the variability around age at death within or between nations to

better understand mortality compression over time (Cheung &

Robine, 2007; Cheung, Robine, & Caselli, 2008). The most

common explanation for the increase in age at death and the

concentration of deaths at older ages focuses on differentials in

socio-economic developments over time, such as the advancement

of technology, the improved socio-environment, living conditions of

the elderly and their access to health care, and developments in/of

schooling and medical progress (Brown et al., 2012; Cheung et al.,

2008). Along with increased longevity, deaths were also

redistributed from earlier to later ages during the epidemiologic

transition, and mortality was therefore compressed into a smaller

and later portion of life, which gradually caused the progressive

“rectangularization” of the survival curves (Fries, 1980, 1983, 2000).

B. Education and Mortality Compression

Consistent evidence for the strong association between

education and mortality has been provided in previous studies. Since

the work of Kitagawa and Hauser (1973), much research has found

that better educated people are more likely to have better health and

longer lives (Mirowsky & Ross, 2003; Ross & Wu, 1995).

Longitudinal studies on the elderly also document that educational

attainment is associated with the onset and recovery of ill health

(Herd, Goesling, & House, 2007; Jagger, Matthews, Melzer,