Conjugal bereavement effects on health and mortality at advanced ages
AbstractSpousal bereavement at old ages may lead to dramatic changes in health. This paper investigates whether spousal bereavement has a causal effect on health and on mortality of the surviving spouse. We advance on the literature in two main ways. First, we model survivals of both spouses and the dynamic evolution of health jointly, allowing for potential endogeneity of timing of bereavement and health in explaining mortality of the surviving spouse. Second, we use a flexible non-parametric data dimensionality reduction method to thoroughly characterize health (using 22 health indicators) by a limited number of latent health indicators. This allows us to investigate the causal effect of spousal bereavement on mortality and on all aspects of health simultaneously. Our analyses are based on an ongoing longitudinal survey that follows a random sample of older individuals from 1992. We find strong instantaneous effects of bereavement on mortality and on certain aspects of health. Individuals lose on average 12% of residual life expectancy after conjugal bereavement. Conjugal bereavement affects the share of healthy years in residual lifetime, primarily because healthy years are replaced by years with chronic diseases. The strong direct effects of bereavement suggest that monitoring and/or interventions just after spousal bereavement are important for the length and quality of life of older bereaved individuals.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Health Economics.
Volume (Year): 30 (2011)
Issue (Month): 4 (July)
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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505560
Mortality Bereavement Disease Life expectancy Elderly couples;
Other versions of this item:
- van den Berg, Gerard J. & Lindeboom, Maarten & Portrait, France, 2006. "Conjugal Bereavement Effects on Health and Mortality at Advanced Ages," IZA Discussion Papers 2358, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Gerard J. van den Berg & Maarten Lindeboom & France Portrait, 2007. "Conjugal Bereavement Effects on Health and Mortality at Advanced Ages," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 07-009/3, Tinbergen Institute.
- I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Production
- I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
- J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
- J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
- C41 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Duration Analysis; Optimal Timing Strategies
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Blog mentionsAs found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
- The economics of bereavement
by Chris Sampson in The Academic Health Economists' Blog on 2013-06-20 05:59:52
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