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The relative tail of longevity and the mean remaining lifetime

Author

Listed:
  • Maxim Finkelstein

    (University of the Free State)

  • James W. Vaupel

    (Syddansk Universitet)

Abstract

Vaupel (1998) posed the provocative question, “When it comes to death, how do people and flies differ from Toyotas?” He suggested that as the force of natural selection diminishes with age, structural reliability concepts can be profitably used in mortality analysis. Vaupel (2003) went a step further, using simulations to investigate the impact of redundancy, repair capacity, and heterogeneity on the relative length of post-reproductive life spans, called relative tails of longevity. His 2003 paper showed that structural redundancy and the possibility of repair decrease the relative tail of longevity, whereas greater heterogeneity increases it. Here, we consider the problem in much greater generality and prove these results analytically. Structures with repairable and non-repairable components are considered. Heterogeneity is described by a frailty-type model and different definitions of the tail of longevity are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Maxim Finkelstein & James W. Vaupel, 2006. "The relative tail of longevity and the mean remaining lifetime," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 14(7), pages 111-138, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:dem:demres:v:14:y:2006:i:7
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    File URL: http://www.demographic-research.org/volumes/vol14/7/14-7.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Vaupel, James W, 1998. "Demographic Analysis of Aging and Longevity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 242-247, May.
    2. A. R. Thatcher, 1999. "The long-term pattern of adult mortality and the highest attained age," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 162(1), pages 5-43.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Maxim S. Finkelstein, 2009. "Understanding the shape of the mixture failure rate (with engineering and demographic applications)," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2009-031, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    frailty; heterogeneity; life expectancy; life span; mortality; mortality rates; tail of longevity;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General

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