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Life, Death, and the Economy: Mortality Change in Overlapping-Generations Model

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  • Qi Li

    (Stanford University)

  • Shripad Tuljapurkar

    (Stanford University)

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    Abstract

    Demographers have shown that there are regularities in mortality change overtime, and have used these to forecast changes due to population aging. Such models leave out potential economic feedbacks that should be captured by dynamic models such as the general-equilibrium, overlapping-generations model first studied by Yaari and Blanchard. Previous analytical and simple numerical work by economists has focused on comparative statics and used simplistic representations of mortality, such as the assumption of a constant age-independent death rate, or some parametric approximation to a survival curve. We show that it is straight forward to analyze equilibria in such models if we work with the probability distribution of the age at death. US and other data show that this distribution can be plausibly described by a normal distribution {for this case we obtain analytical results. For the general case we have numerical results. We show that a proper accounting for the uncertainty of when one dies has significant qualitative and quantitative effects on the equilibria of such economic models. There are, in turn, significant lessons to be drawn for models of future fiscal policy.

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    File URL: http://www.mrrc.isr.umich.edu/publications/Papers/pdf/wp072.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center in its series Working Papers with number wp072.

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    Length: 31 pages
    Date of creation: Jan 2004
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp072

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    1. Olivier J. Blanchard, 1984. "Debt, Deficits and Finite Horizons," NBER Working Papers 1389, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Raouf Boucekkine & David de la Croix & Omar Licandro, . "vintage human capital, demographic trends and endogenous growth," Working Papers 2000-02, FEDEA.
    3. Phillippe Weil, 1997. "The Equity Premium Puzzle and the Risk-Free Rate Puzzle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1833, David K. Levine.
    4. John Wilmoth & Shiro Horiuchi, 1999. "Rectangularization revisited: Variability of age at death within human populations," Demography, Springer, vol. 36(4), pages 475-495, November.
    5. Kalemli-Ozcan, Sebnem & Ryder, Harl E. & Weil, David N., 2000. "Mortality decline, human capital investment, and economic growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 1-23, June.
    6. Antoine Bommier & Ronald D. Lee, 2003. "Overlapping generations models with realistic demography," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 135-160, 02.
    7. Futagami, Koichi & Nakajima, Tetsuya, 2001. "Population Aging and Economic Growth," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 31-44, January.
    8. Peter J. Klenow & Mark Bils, 2000. "Does Schooling Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1160-1183, December.
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