“We attempt to measure the impact of winning a Nobel Prize on longevity by comparing winners to a control group, namely, those scientists nominated for a Nobel Prize who were never successful.”
The 2007 study was performed by Professor Andrew Oswald [pictured] of the Department of Economics, The University of Warwick, UK, and Dr Matthew Rablen (now at the Department of Economics, The University of Sheffield, UK).
The team chose the Nobel Prize winners as a way of examining the effect of social status on longevity.
“Nobel Prize winners were viewed as an ideal group to study as the winners could be seen as having their status suddenly dropped on them.” [ source ]
The prize winners (a sample of 524 of the world’s top scientists from the first half of the 20th century) lived longer than those who were simply nominees – 2.08 years in the US, 1.30 years in Germany, and 0.69 years in Europe as a whole.
Note: The research team did take the prize money into account :
“Although winners do donate a proportion of their prize-money, we can be reasonably sure that winning a Nobel Prize never harms the bank balance.”
Nevertheless, they add :
“[…] the marginal wealth effect from differences in the real value of the Prize on longevity is zero.”
See: ‘Mortality and Immortality: The Nobel Prize as an Experiment into the Effect of Status upon Longevity’ Journal of Health Economics, 2008, 27(6), 1462-1471.
Research research Martin Gardiner