James C. Riley (USA), Professor of History and Research
Associate in the Population Institute at Indiana University,
is an historical demographer. He teaches courses in twentieth-century
world history and in the history of health and population.
Currently, he is completing a research project funded by
the National Institutes of Health, which investigates whether
siblings and parent-child pairs share similar patterns of
health experience in adulthood.
NCS support will allow Dr. Riley to begin a new project,
which asks how people living in about 30 countries with
per capita GDP below $10,000 nevertheless manage to achieve
life expectancies at birth of 70 years or more. One point
of asking this question is to discover additional strategies
that groups within the US population with lower life expectancies
might use to improve their positions.
Dr. Riley earned his Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina,
Chapel Hill, in 1971, and has taught at the University of
Houston, the Catholic University of Leuven, and, since 1975,
He is the recipient of the 1988 Ernst Meyer Prize from
the Association Internationale pour l'Etude d'Economie de
l'Assurance in Geneva; fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation,
The Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study, the Research
School of Social Sciences at Australian National University,
and the Fulbright-Hays program; and grants from the National
Institutes of Health, the National Endowment for the Humanities,
the Huntington Library, and other sources.
· Riley, James C. (2001) Rising Life Expectancy:
A Global History (Cambridge University Press.
· Riley, James C. (1997) Sick Not Dead: The Health
of British Workingmen during the Mortality Decline (Johns
Hopkins University Press.
· Riley, James C. (1989) Sickness, Recovery, and
Death: A History and Forecast of Ill Health Macmillan
(London) and the University of Iowa Press.
· Riley, James C. (1980) International Government
Finance and the Amsterdam Capital Market, 1740-1815 (Cambridge
Challenges of Health in a Borderless World: Securing
Better Survival for Unfavored Groups in the US Population
Before about 1970 life expectancy was distributed among
countries more or less in the same pattern as per capita
income, with rich countries enjoying a decided advantage.
Since then some 30 countries with per capita incomes below
$10,000 have attained life expectancies equal to those of
rich countries. My project examines how these countries
managed to do this.
This research has two objectives. The first is to derive
suggestions for policies that can be applied to enhance
survival among unfavored groups within rich countries, especially
the US. While the US population as a whole surpasses the
threshold of 70 years' life expectancy, many groups within
the US are unfavored; among them life expectancy often does
not reach 70 years, or even 60 years, despite the advantages
associated with the developed status of the US. The second
objective is to learn more from the experience of these
30 overachieving countries about the policy options available
to other poor countries where survival rates remain low.
Three major themes within the NCS program will be pursued:
global interdependence, inequality, and the search for better
policy ideas. First, this project introduces the idea of
rich countries borrowing from the experience of poor countries
in order to improve the quality of life within their own
populations. Second, it seeks answers to questions about
how the effects of social and economic inequality can be
overcome. Social inequality in the US shows up in drastically
different levels of survival for different groups. Third,
this project focuses not on the barriers to high survivorship,
but on finding positive ideas about how to improve survival
that can be considered by unfavored groups and policy makers