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Sources of U.S. Longevity Increase, 1960 -1997

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  • Frank Lichtenberg

Abstract

Between 1960 and 1997, life expectancy at birth of Americans increased approximately 10% „G from 69.7 to 76.5 years „G and it has been estimated that the value of life extension during this period nearly equaled the gains in tangible consumption. While life expectancy has tended to increase, there have been substantial fluctuations in the rate of increase. In this paper we investigate whether an aggregate health production function can help to explain the annual time-series behavior of U.S. longevity since 1960. We view longevity as the output of the health production function, and output fluctuations as the consequence of fluctuations in medical inputs (expenditure) and technology. We estimate longevity models using annual U.S. time-series data on life expectancy, health expenditure, and medical innovation. Reliable annual data are available for only one type of innovation „G new drugs „G but pharmaceutical R&D accounts for a significant fraction of total biomedical research. The empirical analysis provides strong support for the hypothesis that both medical innovation (in the form of new drug approvals) and expenditure on medical care (especially public expenditure) contributed to longevity increase during the period 1960-1997. Increased drug approvals and health expenditure per person jointly explain just about 100% of the observed long-run longevity increase.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2000/wp-cesifo-2000-12/cesifo_wp405.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 405.

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Date of creation: 2000
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_405

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  1. Lichtenberg Frank R., 2002. "The Effects of Medicare on Health Care Utilization and Outcomes," Forum for Health Economics & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-29, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Maarten Lindeboom & France Portrait & Gerard J. van den Berg, 2003. "Individual Mortality and Macro Economic Conditions from Birth to Death," CEIS Research Paper 42, Tor Vergata University, CEIS.
  2. Cervellati, Matteo & Sunde, Uwe, 2013. "The Economic and Demographic Transition, Mortality, and Comparative Development," CEPR Discussion Papers 9337, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Giorgio Brunello & Pierre-Carl Michaud & Anna Sanz de Galdeano, 2008. "The Rise in Obesity Across the Atlantic: An Economic Perspective," Working Papers 2008-21, FEDEA.
  4. James A. Thornton & Jennifer L. Rice, 2008. "Does Extending Health Insurance Coverage to the Uninsured Improve Population Health Outcomes?," Applied Health Economics and Health Policy, Springer Healthcare | Adis, vol. 6(4), pages 217-230.
  5. John Vernon & Joseph Golec & J. Stevens, 2010. "Comparative Effectiveness Regulations and Pharmaceutical Innovation," PharmacoEconomics, Springer, vol. 28(10), pages 877-887, October.
  6. Joseph Cook & Graeme Hunter & John Vernon, 2009. "The Future Costs, Risks and Rewards of Drug Development," PharmacoEconomics, Springer, vol. 27(5), pages 355-363, May.
  7. Louise Sheiner, 2009. "Intergenerational aspects of health care," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2009-38, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. Ivaschenko, Oleksiy, 2004. "Longevity in Russia's Regions: Do Poverty and Low Public Health Spending Kill?," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

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