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Ageing, health, and health care

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  • Friedrich Breyer
  • Joan Costa-Font
  • Stefan Felder

Abstract

The population in the developed world has experienced a significant increase in life expectancy over the last 50 years. Simultaneously, while the onset of comorbidities has been deferred to older age groups, health-care expenditure has grown dramatically, primarily owing to the advancement of medical technology and the expansion of individual income levels, along with population ageing in the wake of increased longevity. However, the contribution of population ageing to health expenditure growth is subject to some theoretical and empirical scrutiny. This paper takes the question of ageing and health and health care to the data to evaluate the net impact of ageing. We focus on two main questions, namely the welfare valuation of longevity improvements for various OECD countries, along with the 'red herring' hypothesis which suggests that population ageing has a small and almost negligible impact on health-care expenditure. Our estimates lead us to suggest an average gain in longevity of 4.5 years since 1980, corresponding to about 13.5 per cent of lifetime income of a 20-year-old in 2000. Furthermore, we confirm a weak red-herring claim, that is, that population ageing accounts for only a 0.5 per cent annual growth rate of health-care expenditure. Finally, we find that the rise in longevity leads to a further demand for life-prolonging medical care. Copyright 2010, Oxford University Press.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/oxrep/grq032
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Oxford Review of Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 26 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (Winter)
Pages: 674-690

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Handle: RePEc:oup:oxford:v:26:y:2010:i:4:p:674-690

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Web page: http://oxrep.oupjournals.org/

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Cited by:
  1. Murphy, Michael & Martikainen, Pekka, 2013. "Use of hospital and long-term institutional care services in relation to proximity to death among older people in Finland," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 39-47.
  2. Werding, Martin & McLennan, Stuart, 2011. "International portability of health-cost coverage : concepts and experience," Social Protection Discussion Papers 63929, The World Bank.
  3. Bartolucci, Francesco & Giorgio E., Montanari & Pandolfi, Silvia, 2012. "Item selection by an extended Latent Class model: An application to nursing homes evaluation," MPRA Paper 38757, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Hans Pitlik & Margit Schratzenstaller, 2011. "Growth Implications of Structure and Size of Public Sectors," WIFO Working Papers 404, WIFO.

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