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International Differences in Longevity and Health and Their Economic Consequences

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Author Info

  • Michaud, Pierre-Carl

    ()
    (University of Québec at Montréal)

  • Goldman, Dana P.

    ()
    (RAND)

  • Lakdawalla, Darius N.

    ()
    (RAND)

  • Zheng, Yuhui

    ()
    (RAND)

  • Gailey, Adam H.

    (RAND)

Abstract

In 1975, 50 year-old Americans could expect to live slightly longer than their European counterparts. By 2005, American life expectancy at that age has diverged substantially compared to Europe. We find that this growing longevity gap is primarily the symptom of real declines in the health of near-elderly Americans, relative to their European peers. In particular, we use a microsimulation approach to project what US longevity would look like, if US health trends approximated those in Europe. We find that differences in health can explain most of the growing gap in remaining life expectancy. In addition, we quantify the public finance consequences of this deterioration in health. The model predicts that gradually moving American cohorts to the health status enjoyed by Europeans could save up to $1.1 trillion in discounted total health expenditures from 2004 to 2050.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4367.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Social Science and Medicine, 2011, 73 (2), 254-63
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4367

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Related research

Keywords: international comparisons; mortality; disability; microsimulation;

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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Longevity and the cost of health
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2009-10-30 14:51:00
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Cited by:
  1. Samuel H. Preston & Jessica Y. Ho, 2009. "Low Life Expectancy in the United States: Is the Health Care System at Fault?," NBER Working Papers 15213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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  1. Economic Logic blog

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