Dying is a social as well as physiological phenomenon. Each society characterizes and, consequently, treats death and dying in its own individual ways—ways that differ markedly. These particular patterns of death and dying engender modal cultural responses, and such institutionalized behavior has familiar, economical, educational, religious, and political implications. The Handbook of Death and Dying takes stock of the vast literature in the field.
Chapter 59: On the Economics of Death in the United States
The death care industry in the United States has only recently gained the attention of policymakers, politicians, citizen groups, and regulators. Although the industry is highly fragmented, its pricing strategies have becoming increasingly influenced by multinational corporations. This fact, coupled with the market structure for death care services, consumers' preferences, and the attributes of death care services, has resulted in an average funeral cost of over $5,000 per deceased. This chapter analyzes the market structure for death care ...