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Lifetime income and old age mortality risk in Italy over two decades

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  • Michele Belloni

    ()
    (CeRP - Collegio Carlo Alberto and University of Venice)

  • Rob Alessie

    ()
    (University of Groningen)

  • Adriaan Kalwij

    ()
    (Utrecht University School of Economics)

  • Chiara Marinacci

    ()
    (Epidemiology Unit, Regione Piemonte)

Abstract

European studies highlight a widening of relative inequalities in general mortality by socioeconomic status from the 1970s to the 1990s. Few studies are available for Southern European countries; they show that these countries represent an exception to these trends. Available evidence on this for Italy is for a specific city only and nationwide evidence does not exist yet. This paper examines the association between lifetime income and old age mortality risk, referred to as the income–mortality gradient, in Italy during the 1980s and 1990s. We investigate the shape of the gradient. Most importantly, we analyze the evolution of the gradient between these two decades. We use data drawn from an administrative pension archive held by the main Italian social security institution and proxy individual lifetime income with pension income. We use non-standard Cox proportional hazard models, where the positions and number of the knots in the spline function for income are determined by the data. The shape of the income–mortality gradient shows two discontinuities for males and one for females; these kink points are situated almost at the same percentiles of the income distribution during the 1980s and the 1990s. The estimated associations are negative and stronger at higher income levels. The income–mortality gradient widens over time for males and remains unchanged for females. Accounting for regional effects explains most of the widening in the gradient over time for males. Our findings show for both males and females that mortality risk decreases with income. Once controlled for regional differences, and in contrast with the trends observed in many other European countries, the relative difference in mortality risk between high and low-income individuals is rather stable over time in Italy.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy) in its series CeRP Working Papers with number 129.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:crp:wpaper:129

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  1. van den Berg, Gerard J. & Lindeboom, Maarten & Portrait, France, 2011. "Conjugal bereavement effects on health and mortality at advanced ages," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 774-794, July.
  2. Franco Peracchi, 2008. "Height and Economic Development in Italy, 1730-1980," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 475-81, May.
  3. Belloni, Michele & Alessie, Rob, 2009. "The importance of financial incentives on retirement choices: New evidence for Italy," Labour Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 16(5), pages 578-588, October.
  4. Massimiliano Bratti, 2003. "Labour force participation and marital fertility of Italian women: The role of education," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 525-554, 08.
  5. Michele Belloni & Carlo Maccheroni, 2013. "Actuarial Fairness When Longevity Increases: An Evaluation of the Italian Pension System," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 38(4), pages 638-674, October.
  6. Harriet Orcutt Duleep, 1986. "Measuring the Effect of Income on Adult Mortality Using Longitudinal Administrative Record Data," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 21(2), pages 238-251.
  7. Brugiavini, Agar & Galasso, Vincenzo, 2004. "The social security reform process in Italy: where do we stand?," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(02), pages 165-195, July.
  8. Adriaan Kalwij & Rob Alessie & Marike Knoef, 2013. "The Association Between Individual Income and Remaining Life Expectancy at the Age of 65 in the Netherlands," Demography, Springer, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 181-206, February.
  9. Dominik H. Enste & Friedrich Schneider, 2000. "Shadow Economies: Size, Causes, and Consequences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 38(1), pages 77-114, March.
  10. Julian Cristia, 2009. "Rising Mortality and Life Expectancy Differentials by Lifetime Earnings in the United States," Research Department Publications, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department 4607, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  11. Daniel Sullivan & Till von Wachter, 2009. "Average Earnings and Long-Term Mortality: Evidence from Administrative Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 133-38, May.
  12. Hans-Martin von Gaudecker & Rembrandt D. Scholz, 2007. "Differential mortality by lifetime earnings in Germany," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 17(4), pages 83-108, August.
  13. Jennifer Montez & Robert Hummer & Mark Hayward, 2012. "Educational Attainment and Adult Mortality in the United States: A Systematic Analysis of Functional Form," Demography, Springer, Springer, vol. 49(1), pages 315-336, February.
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