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Is Posner Right? An Empirical Test of the Posner Argument for Transferring Health Spending from Old Women to Old Men

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  • Wunder, Christoph

    ()
    (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg)

  • Schwarze, Johannes

    (University of Bamberg)

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    Abstract

    Posner (1995) proposes the redistribution of health spending from old women to old men to equalize life expectancy. His argument is based on the assumption that women's utility is higher if they are married. Thus, extending the lifespan of men would benefit women. Using life satisfaction data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP), we conduct an empirical test of this assumption. We apply a two-step estimation strategy: first, we use a propensity score matching approach to generate a control group of non-widowed women. The average level of life satisfaction in the control group serves as a reference to measure the degree of adaptation to widowhood. In the second step, the life satisfaction trajectories of both groups are estimated using penalized spline regressions. The results suggest bereavement has no enduring effect on life satisfaction, and that falsifies Posner's assumption.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4485.

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    Length: 33 pages
    Date of creation: Oct 2009
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4485

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    Related research

    Keywords: widowhood; adaptation; subjective well-being; life satisfaction; penalized spline regression; propensity score matching;

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    References

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    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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    1. Christoph Wunder & Andrea Wiencierz & Johannes Schwarze & Helmut Küchenhoff & Sara Kleyer & Philipp Bleninger, 2009. "Well-Being over the Life Span: Semiparametric Evidence from British and German Longitudinal Data," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 179, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    2. Andrew E. Clark & Ed Diener & Yannis Georgellis & Richard E. Lucas, 2007. "Lags and Leads in Life Satisfaction: A Test of the Baseline Hypothesis," CEP Discussion Papers, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE dp0836, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    3. Ruppert,David & Wand,M. P. & Carroll,R. J., 2003. "Semiparametric Regression," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521785167.
    4. Donald B. Rubin, 2005. "Causal Inference Using Potential Outcomes: Design, Modeling, Decisions," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 100, pages 322-331, March.
    5. Rasmusen, Eric, 1996. "The Posner argument for transferring health spending from old women to olden men," Economics Letters, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 337-339, December.
    6. Bruce Headey, 2007. "The Set-Point Theory of Well-Being Needs Replacing: On the Brink of a Scientific Revolution?," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 55, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    7. Long Ngo & Matthew P. Wand, . "Smoothing with Mixed Model Software," Journal of Statistical Software, American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 9(i01).
    8. Guido W. Imbens, 2003. "Nonparametric Estimation of Average Treatment Effects under Exogeneity: A Review," NBER Technical Working Papers, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc 0294, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Ruppert,David & Wand,M. P. & Carroll,R. J., 2003. "Semiparametric Regression," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521780506.
    10. Christoph Wunder & Andrea Wiencierz & Johannes Schwarze & Helmut Küchenhoff & Sara Kleyer & Philipp Bleninger, 2009. "Well-Being over the Life Span: Semiparametric Evidence from British and German Longitudinal Data," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 889, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    11. Edwin Leuven & Barbara Sianesi, 2003. "PSMATCH2: Stata module to perform full Mahalanobis and propensity score matching, common support graphing, and covariate imbalance testing," Statistical Software Components, Boston College Department of Economics S432001, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 12 Feb 2014.
    12. Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP): Scope, Evolution and Enhancements," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 1, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    13. Bruce Headey, 2007. "The Set-Point Theory of Well-Being Needs Replacing: On the Brink of a Scientific Revolution?," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 753, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Should old women pay for the health of old men?
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2009-12-15 03:34:00

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