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Differential Mortality in Europe and the U.S.: Estimates Based on Subjective Probabilities of Survival

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  • Adeline Delavande

    ()

  • Susann Rohwedder

    ()

Abstract

Estimates of differential mortality by socioeconomic status play an important role in several domains: in public policy for assessing distributional effects of public programs; in financial markets for the design of life insurance and annuities; and in individual decision making when figuring out how much to save for retirement. Traditionally, reliable estimates of differential mortality require rich panel data with large sample size. This paper proposes a new, less data-intensive approach relying on just a single cross-section of data. Rather than using observations on actual mortality in panel over time, the authors propose relating individuals' subjective probabilities of survival to variables of socioeconomic status in cross-section. They formulate the method in a model of survey response and provide an empirical validation based on data from the Health and Retirement Study comparing the alternative estimates to the traditional estimates of differential mortality for the same sample of baseline respondents. They present two applications. First, they document an increase in differential mortality in the U.S. over time, and second, they produce comparable estimates of differential mortality for 10 European countries and the U.S. based on subjective probabilities of survival.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by RAND Corporation Publications Department in its series Working Papers with number 613.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ran:wpaper:613

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  1. Michael D. Hurd & Kathleen McGarry, 2002. "The Predictive Validity of Subjective Probabilities of Survival," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(482), pages 966-985, October.
  2. David E. Bloom & David Canning & Michael Moore & Younghwan Song, 2006. "The Effect of Subjective Survival Probabilities on Retirement and Wealth in the United States," PGDA Working Papers 1706, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.
  3. O. Attanasio & H. W. Hoynes, . "Differential mortality and wealth accumulation," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1079-96, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  4. James P. Smith, 1999. "Healthy Bodies and Thick Wallets: The Dual Relation between Health and Economic Status," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 145-166, Spring.
  5. Charles F. Manski, 2004. "Measuring Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(5), pages 1329-1376, 09.
  6. Papke, Leslie E & Wooldridge, Jeffrey M, 1996. "Econometric Methods for Fractional Response Variables with an Application to 401(K) Plan Participation Rates," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(6), pages 619-32, Nov.-Dec..
  7. Adeline Delavande & Robert Willis, 2007. "Managing the Risk of Life," Working Papers wp167, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  8. Angus Deaton & Christina Paxson, 1999. "Mortality, Education, Income, and Inequality among American Cohorts," NBER Working Papers 7140, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Rasmus Hoffmann, 2005. "Does the socioeconomic mortality gradient interact with age? Evidence from US survey data and Danish register data," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2005-020, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  10. Todd Elder, 2007. "Subjective Survival Probabilities in the Health and Retirement Study: Systematic Biases and Predictive Validity," Working Papers wp159, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  11. Lee Lillard & Robert J. Willis, 2001. "Cognition and Wealth: The Importance of Probabilistic Thinking," Working Papers wp007, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  12. Adams, Peter & Hurd, Michael D. & McFadden, Daniel & Merrill, Angela & Ribeiro, Tiago, 2003. "Healthy, wealthy, and wise? Tests for direct causal paths between health and socioeconomic status," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 112(1), pages 3-56, January.
  13. Harriet Orcutt Duleep, 1986. "Measuring the Effect of Income on Adult Mortality Using Longitudinal Administrative Record Data," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 21(2), pages 238-251.
  14. David A. Wise, 1989. "The Economics of Aging," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number wise89-1, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Adeline Delavande & Hans-Peter Kohler, 2009. "Subjective expectations in the context of HIV/AIDS in Malawi," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 20(31), pages 817-875, June.
  2. Adeline Delavande, 2008. "Measuring revisions to subjective expectations," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 36(1), pages 43-82, February.
  3. Pierre-Carl Michaud & Arthur vanSoest, 2006. "How Did the Elimination of the Earnings Test Above the Normal Retirement Age Affect Retirement Expectations?," Working Papers wp135, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  4. Thomas Post & Katja Hanewald, 2010. "Stochastic Mortality, Subjective Survival Expectations, and Individual Saving Behavior," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2010-040, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  5. Adena, Maja & Myck, Michal, 2013. "Poverty and transitions in health," MEA discussion paper series 13273, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  6. Segretain, Côme & Pelletan, Jacques, 2009. "Liquidation des pensions de retraite différenciée selon l’espérance de vie," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/3481, Paris Dauphine University.
  7. Thomas Post & Katja Hanewald, 2011. "Longevity Risk, Subjective Survival Expectations, and Individual Saving Behavior," Working Papers 201111, ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR), Australian School of Business, University of New South Wales.
  8. Adeline Delavande & Michael Perry & Robert Willis, 2006. "Probabilistic Thinking and Early Social Security Claiming," Working Papers wp129, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  9. Franco Peracchi & Valeria Perotti, 2010. "Subjective survival probabilities and life tables: Evidence from Europe," EIEF Working Papers Series 1016, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Nov 2011.

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