Class relations and all-cause mortality: A test of Wright's social class scheme using the Barcelona 2000 Health Interview Survey

Carles Muntaner, Carme Borrell, Judit Solà, Marc Marí-Dell'Olmo, Haejoo Chung, Maica Rodríguez-Sanz, Joan Benach, Kátia Rocha, Edwin Ng

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3 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study is to test the effects of neo-Marxian social class and potential mediators such as labor market position, work organization, material deprivation, and health behaviors on all-cause mortality. The authors use longitudinal data from the Barcelona 2000 Health Interview Survey (N = 7,526), with follow-up interviews through the municipal census in 2008 (95.97% response rate). Using data on relations of property, organizational power, and education, the study groups social classes according to Wright's scheme: capitalists, petit bourgeoisie, managers, supervisors, and skilled, semi-skilled, and unskilled workers. Findings indicate that social class, measured as relations of control over productive assets, is an important predictor of mortality among working-class men but not women. Workers (hazard ratio = 1.60; 95% confidence interval, 1.10-2.35) but also managers and small employers had a higher risk of death compared with capitalists. The extensive use of conventional gradient measures of social stratification has neglected sociological measures of social class conceptualized as relations of control over productive assets. This concept is capable of explaining how social inequalities are generated. To confirm the protective effect of the capitalist class position and the "contradictory class location hypothesis," additional efforts are needed to properly measure class among low-level supervisors, capitalists, managers, and small employers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-458
Number of pages28
JournalInternational Journal of Health Services
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jan 1


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

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