International Differences in Longevity and Health and their Economic Consequences
AbstractIn 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 InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15235.
Date of creation: Aug 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Michaud, P.-C., D. Goldman, D. Lakdawalla, A. Gailey and Y. Zheng (2011): "Differences in Health between Americans and Western Europeans: Effects on Longevity and Public Finance", Social Science and Medicine 73:2, pp. 254-263.
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Other versions of this item:
- P.-C. Michaud & D. Goldman & D. Lakdawalla & A. Gailey & Y. Zheng, 2009. "International Differences in Longevity and Health and their Economic Consequences," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 254, McMaster University.
- Michaud, Pierre-Carl & Goldman, Dana P. & Lakdawalla, Darius N. & Zheng, Yuhui & Gailey, Adam H., 2009. "International Differences in Longevity and Health and Their Economic Consequences," IZA Discussion Papers 4367, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
- I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
- J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-AGE-2009-08-16 (Economics of Ageing)
- NEP-ALL-2009-08-16 (All new papers)
- NEP-HEA-2009-08-16 (Health Economics)
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- 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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