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Long-Term Declines in Disability Among Older Men: Medical Care, Public Health, and Occupational Change

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  • Dora L. Costa

Abstract

Functional disability (difficulty in walking , difficulty in bending, paralysis, blindness in at least one eye, and deafness in at least one ear) in the United States has fallen at an average annual rate of 0.6 percent among men age 50 to 74 from the early twentieth century to the early 1990s. Twenty-four to 41 percent of this decline is attributable to innovations in medical care, 37 percent to reduced chronic disease rates, and the remainder is unexplained. The portion due to reduced chronic disease rates can be subdivided into the 9 percent accounted for by reduced infectious disease rates (particularly rheumatic fever, malaria, typhoid, and acute respiratory infections), the 7 percent accounted for by occupational shifts away from manual labor and to white collar jobs, and the 21 percent that is unexplained.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7605.

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Date of creation: Mar 2000
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7605

Note: AG DAE HC
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  1. Kenneth Manton & Eric Stallard & Larry Corder, 1997. "Changes in the age dependence of mortality and disability: Cohort and other determinants," Demography, Springer, vol. 34(1), pages 135-157, February.
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Cited by:
  1. R. Todd Jewel & Patricia Triunfo & Máximo Rossi, 2005. "El estado de salud de los jóvenes uruguayos," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 1305, Department of Economics - dECON.
  2. Peter Viechnicki, 2003. "Appendix B. Properties and Availability of the Union Army Life-Cycle Sample," NBER Chapters, in: Health and Labor Force Participation over the Life Cycle: Evidence from the Past, pages 323-334 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Maximo Rossi y Patricia Triunfo, 2004. "El estado de salud del adulto mayor en Uruguay," Econometric Society 2004 Latin American Meetings 113, Econometric Society.
  4. Dora Costa, 2002. "Changing chronic disease rates and longterm declines in functional limitation among older men," Demography, Springer, vol. 39(1), pages 119-137, February.
  5. Costa, Dora L., 2003. "Understanding mid-life and older age mortality declines: evidence from Union Army veterans," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 112(1), pages 175-192, January.
  6. Pope, Clayne, 2009. "Measuring the distribution of material well-being: U.S. trends," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 66-78, January.

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