Harriet O. Duleep Ph.D.

Research Professor
Thomas Jefferson Program in Public Policy
College of William and Mary
Email: hduleep@wm.edu Discipline: Economics, Demography Expertise: Health Care Inequalities

Investigator Award
Poverty and Inequality in Mortality: Individual Behavior, Societal Solutions
Award Year: 1998 Dr. Duleep seeks greater understanding of how low socioeconomic status affects mortality in the U.S. Her overarching hypothesis is that poverty impacts mortality through its effect on perceived returns to investments in health and to human capital. This project tests the behavioral investment hypothesis against alternatives for explaining income's role in creating mortality differences. Her model suggests that variation in the practice of preventive health behaviors reflects rational responses by individuals given their prior experiences and surroundings. It is consistent with mounting empirical evidence of the importance of personal behavior in determining health and longevity. She suggests, however, that these behaviors can be changed. Acknowledging the important role of individual behavior, Dr. Duleep views it as a function of experience amenable to economic and social policy. Her work will result in a sounder foundation for policy formation.


Harriet Orcutt Duleep is a research professor with the Thomas Jefferson Program in Public Policy at the College of William and Mary. Previously, she was a Principal Research Associate in the Population Studies Center of The Urban Institute. She received her doctorate in economics from MIT. Her main areas of research include immigration, mortality, minority economic status, and women's labor force behavior.