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The cost of uncertain life span

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  • Ryan Edwards

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Abstract

Much uncertainty surrounds the length of human life. The standard deviation in adult life span is about 15 years in the USA, and theory and evidence suggest that it is costly. I calibrate a utility-theoretic model that shows that 1 year in standard deviation is worth about half a life year. Differences in variance exacerbate health inequalities between and among rich and poor countries. Accounting for the cost of life-span variance appears to amplify recently discovered patterns of convergence in world average human well-being because the component of variance due to infant mortality has exhibited even more convergence than life expectancy. Copyright Springer-Verlag 2013

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00148-012-0405-0
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Population Economics.

Volume (Year): 26 (2013)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 1485-1522

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Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:26:y:2013:i:4:p:1485-1522

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Related research

Keywords: Health inequality; Population health; Convergence; I10; J17; O11;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. David Canning, 2011. "Progress in Health around the World," PGDA Working Papers 8011, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.
  2. Alyson van Raalte & Pekka Martikainen & Mikko Myrskylä, 2014. "Lifespan Variation by Occupational Class: Compression or Stagnation Over Time?," Demography, Springer, vol. 51(1), pages 73-95, February.
  3. Charles Jones & Pete Klenow, 2010. "Beyond GDP? Welfare Across Countries and Time," Discussion Papers 10-001, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  4. Shripad Tuljapurkar & Ryan D. Edwards, 2009. "Variance in Death and Its Implications for Modeling and Forecasting Mortality," NBER Working Papers 15288, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Hippolyte d'Albis & Loesse Jacques Esso & Héctor Pifarré i Arolas, 2012. "Mortality Convergence Across High-Income Countries: An Econometric Approach," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 12076, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
  6. Ryan D. Edwards, 2010. "Trends in World Inequality in Life Span Since 1970," NBER Working Papers 16088, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00755682 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. David Canning, 2007. "Valuing Lives Equally and Welfare Economics," PGDA Working Papers 2707, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.

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