Talks and Writings

Deaths of Despair and the Coronavirus

Trump's pet theory about the fatal dangers of quarantine is very wrong. Anne Case and Angus Deaton share their perspective that  there is little to no evidence that "Deaths of Despair" track unemployment rates (Washington Post, June 2020)

Even more Deaths of Despair? The co-author of an important new book talks about her research, the current crisis, and whether we can turn it into an opportunity (Interview with Michael Tomasky, Democracy, A Journal of Ideas, May 2020)

Brookings Institute Webinar: Reopening the coronavirus-closed economy — Principles and tradeoffs.  (Angus Deaton's participation begins 30 minutes into the webinar and then again at 74 minutes as part of a panel discussion, May 2020) 

For many Americans, health coverage is tied to a job - and now they have neither. (Paul Solman, PBS NewsHour, May 2020)

Boston Review talks with Nobel Prize-winning economist Angus Deaton about COVID-19, the relationship between culture, financial hardship, and health, and why capitalism’s flaws are proving fatal for America’s working class (Joshua Cohen, Boston Review, May 2020)

Anne Case discusses how the coronavirus crisis reveals the inefficiency and expense of American medicine (Virtual Exposure, BBC, May 2020)

Inequalities and the Covid-19 Crisis - Angus Deaton webinar presented by the the Royal Economic Society (April 2020)

Deaths of Despair": The deadly epidemic that predated coronavirus. Mortality rates were on the rise in the US long before Covid-19. (Roge Karma, Vox, April 2020)

Restarting America means people will die. So when do we do it? (New York Times Roundtable Discussion; April 2020)

Angus Deaton talks to the BBC about pandemics and inequality (this conversation is at the start and end of the broadcast; April 2020)

Deaths of despair, deaths from the virus and the U.S. Healthcare system (Angus Deaton and Luigi Zingales, University of Chicago, Booth School of Business; April 2020)

Angus Deaton on what COVID-19 means for inequality and "Deaths of Despair" (Bendheim Center for Finance, Princeton University; April 2020)

When can America reopen from its coronavirus shutdown? The answer depends how you weigh human health against the economy. We asked experts how to think about the tricky calculus. (Politico Magazine, April 2020)

In a time of plague; letter from America (Angus Deaton, April 2020)

Deaths of Despair

American Enterprise Institute's podcast series "What the Hell is Going On" - There were 158,000 “deaths of despair” in the US in 2018. Think of it as three fully loaded Boeing 737 MAX jets falling out of the sky every day for a year. In their new book, “Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism,” Anne Case and Angus Deaton talk about the other epidemic decimating American communities, now exacerbated by the coronavirus. (Danielle Pletka and Marc Thiessen, May 2020)

Anne Case talks to Social Science Bites on "Deaths of Despair" (Social Science Space podcast, May 2020)

Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism and how inequities in our economic system are leading to lost lives.(Radio Times, WHYY, May 2020)

Anne Case and Angus Deaton discuss "Deaths of Despair" with the Economic Policy Institute (YouTube, May 2020)

The stunning decline of American life expectancy with Anne Case and Angus Deaton - an interview with Adam Conover (Factually! with Adam Conover, Earwolf podcast, April 2020)

"Deaths of Despair" author Anne Case discusses how the economic crisis can worsen mortality rates (Lulu Garcia-Navarro, NPR, April 2020)

How to fix democracy -fixing healthcare inequality, Angus Deaton argues in this interview, must be a top priority for the future of capitalism and democracy in the land of the American Dream. (Andrew Keen, Bertelsmann Foundation; video April 2020)

Angus Deaton and Bart van Ark discuss "Deaths of Despair" and how the flaws in capitalism are fatal for America's working class. This book charts a way forward, providing solutions that can rein in capitalism’s excesses and make it work for everyone. (The Conference Board podcast, April 2020)

America can afford a world-class health system. Why don't we have one? Our system takes from the poor and working class to generate wealth for the already wealthy (New York Times Op-Ed, April 2020)

American capitalism is failing Trump's base as white working-class "deaths of despair" rise (NBC News Op-Ed, April 2020)

Guardian columnist Jessa Crispin interviews Anne Case about "Deaths of Despair" (Public Intellectual Podcast, April 2020)

Q&A with renowned health economist Anne Case and Nobel laureate Angus Deaton (Zachary Shevin, The Daily Princetonian, April 2020)

The Epidemic of Despair-Anne Case and Angus Deaton explore the question "Will America's Mortality Crisis Spread to the Rest of the World" (Foreign Affairs, March/April 2020) 

March 2020: YouTube presentation of Susan MacTavish Best speaks with Anne Case and Angus Deaton. Wide ranging conversation includes women in economics, the healthcare system and capitalism. 

Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism (Mohamed Younis, Gallup Podcast, March 27, 2020)

Why are so many white, uneducated Americans dying Deaths of Despair? (Top of Mind with Julie Rose, BYU radio, March 25, 2020)

March 2020: Audiobook clip of "Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism" from Princeton University Press.

How Healthcare Costs Hurt American Workers and Benefit the Wealthy (Time, February 20, 2020)

Rebottling the Gini: Why this headline measure of inequality misses everything that matters (Prospect, January 2020)

January 2020: Anne Case and Angus Deaton present “Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism” at the American Economic Association Annual Meeting.

April 2019: Anne Case and Angus Deaton present two lectures (Case's lecture, Deaton's lecture) and a discussion session at Stanford University for its Tanner Lecture Series. 

Work: A Matter of Life and Death - The world of work is changing and it's become a matter of life and death. Life expectancy is declining, especially among those whose work and prospects have disappeared. Internationally acclaimed journalist Michael Goldfarb speaks with Anne Case and Angus Deaton about their research into the causes of declining life expectancy (Podcast, November 2018)

Why 'Deaths of Despair' may be a warning sign for America - Anne Case and Angus Deaton speak with Moving Upstream host Jason Bellini regarding warning signs of a crisis of American capitalism (Wall Street Journal video, February 2018 - access may be restricted)

Financial Times: Alphachat Podcast - Anne Case on Mortality and Morbidity in the 21st century (Cardiff Garcia, April 2017- access may be restricted)

The Region (a publication of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis): Interview with Anne Case, "Princeton economist on the cost of AIDS in South Africa, 'Deaths of Despair' in the U.S. and women in economics (December 2017) 

The Washington Post: Op-Ed, co-authored with Angus Deaton, The media get the opioid crisis wrong. Here is the truth (September 2017)

Written Documents

January 2018: Anne Case and Angus Deaton draft a response letter to a working paper published by Christopher Ruhm.

Academic Publications


Case, A., and A.Deaton. 2017. “Suicide, age, and wellbeing: an empirical investigation.” NBER Working Paper 21279, Chapter 10 (pages 307-34) in Insights in the Economics of Aging. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Case, Anne, and Angus Deaton. 2017. “Mortality and Morbidity in the 21st Century.” Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Spring 2017. The online appendix, appendix figures, the data and programs, and a non-technical discussion of the paper are available here. 


Case, A., and A.Deaton. 2015. “Rising morbidity and mortality in midlife among white non-Hispanic Americans in the 21st century.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112 (49): 15078-15083. Publisher's Version


black book jacket with the title deaths of despair

Anne Case and Angus Deaton photo

Photo Credit: Rebecca Wilcox, Purdue University

Anne Case headshot

Angus Deaton headshot

Photo Credit: Sameer Khan, Fotobuddy