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Does the socioeconomic mortality gradient interact with age? Evidence from US survey data and Danish register data

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  • Rasmus Hoffmann

    (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)

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    Abstract

    The aim of our paper is to provide an answer to the questions if and why social differences in health and mortality decrease with age. Most research confirms this decrease but the reasons for it and the role of unobserved heterogeneity are unknown. The data used for our analysis come from the US Health and Retirement Study (n=9376) and from the Danish Demographic Database (Denmark’s population above age 58). They offer detailed information about SES and health information. The technique of event-history-analysis is used, and frailty models address mortality selection. A new method is developed to consider systematic difference in the change of average frailty over age between social groups. SES differentials in mortality converge with age in Denmark but not in the US. In both countries, they converge strongly with decreasing health. When controlled for health, the differences are stable across age in both countries. This means that worsening health levels social mortality differences and not increasing age. Controlling for mortality selection removes the converging pattern over age.

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    File URL: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/papers/working/wp-2005-020.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany in its series MPIDR Working Papers with number WP-2005-020.

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    Length: 41 pages
    Date of creation: Aug 2005
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2005-020

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    Web page: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/

    Related research

    Keywords: Denmark; USA; health; mortality; old age; socio-economic differentials; socio-economic status;

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    References

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    1. Shiro Horiuchi & John Wilmoth, 1998. "Deceleration in the age pattern of mortality at olderages," Demography, Springer, vol. 35(4), pages 391-412, November.
    2. Smith, James P, 1998. "Socioeconomic Status and Health," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 192-96, May.
    3. Olausson, Petra Otterblad, 1991. "Mortality among the elderly in Sweden by social class," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 437-440, January.
    4. Elisabetta Barbi, 2003. "Assessing the rate of ageing of the human population," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2003-008, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    5. Grundy, Emily & Sloggett, Andy, 2003. "Health inequalities in the older population: the role of personal capital, social resources and socio-economic circumstances," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(5), pages 935-947, March.
    6. James P. Smith, 2003. "Consequences and Predictors of New Health Events," NBER Working Papers 10063, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Goldman, Noreen & Korenman, Sanders & Weinstein, Rachel, 1995. "Marital status and health among the elderly," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 40(12), pages 1717-1730, June.
    8. Adams, Peter & Hurd, Michael D. & McFadden, Daniel & Merrill, Angela & Ribeiro, Tiago, 2003. "Healthy, wealthy, and wise? Tests for direct causal paths between health and socioeconomic status," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 112(1), pages 3-56, January.
    9. Rasmus Hoffmann, 2005. "Do socioeconomic mortality differences decrease with rising age?," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 13(2), pages 35-62, August.
    10. James P. Smith, 1999. "Healthy Bodies and Thick Wallets: The Dual Relation between Health and Economic Status," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 145-166, Spring.
    11. Hoover, Kevin D., 2003. "Some causal lessons from macroeconomics," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 112(1), pages 121-125, January.
    12. Huisman, Martijn & Kunst, Anton E. & Mackenbach, Johan P., 2003. "Socioeconomic inequalities in morbidity among the elderly; a European overview," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 57(5), pages 861-873, September.
    13. James Vaupel & Kenneth Manton & Eric Stallard, 1979. "The impact of heterogeneity in individual frailty on the dynamics of mortality," Demography, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 439-454, August.
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    Cited by:
    1. Adeline Delavande & Susann Rohwedder, 2008. "Differential Mortality in Europe and the U.S.: Estimates Based on Subjective Probabilities of Survival," Working Papers 613, RAND Corporation Publications Department.

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