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Variance in death and its implications for modeling and forecasting mortality

  • Shripad Tuljapurkar

    (Stanford University)

  • Ryan D. Edwards

    (City University of New York)

The slope and curvature of the survivorship function reflect the considerable amount of variance in length of life found in any human population. This is due in part to the well-known variation in life expectancy between groups: large differences in race, sex, socioeconomic status, or other covariates. But within-group variance is large even in narrowly defined groups, and changes substantially and inversely with the group average length of life. We show that variance in length of life is inversely related to the Gompertz slope of log mortality through age, and we reveal its relationship to variance in a multiplicative frailty index. Our findings bear a variety of implications for modeling and forecasting mortality. In particular, we examine how the assumption of proportional hazards fails to account adequately for differences in subgroup variance, and we discuss how several common forecasting models treat the variance in the temporal dimension.

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File URL: http://www.demographic-research.org/volumes/vol24/21/24-21.pdf
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Article provided by Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany in its journal Demographic Research.

Volume (Year): 24 (2011)
Issue (Month): 21 (March)
Pages: 497-526

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Handle: RePEc:dem:demres:v:24:y:2011:i:21
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/

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  1. Ryan D. Edwards & Shripad Tuljapurkar, 2005. "Inequality in Life Spans and a New Perspective on Mortality Convergence Across Industrialized Countries," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 31(4), pages 645-674.
  2. James Vaupel & Kenneth Manton & Eric Stallard, 1979. "The impact of heterogeneity in individual frailty on the dynamics of mortality," Demography, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 439-454, August.
  3. Ryan Edwards, 2013. "The cost of uncertain life span," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 26(4), pages 1485-1522, October.
  4. Edwards Ryan D, 2009. "The Cost of Cyclical Mortality," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-19, March.
  5. Ryan D. Edwards, 2010. "Trends in World Inequality in Life Span Since 1970," NBER Working Papers 16088, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Carter, Lawrence R. & Lee, Ronald D., 1992. "Modeling and forecasting US sex differentials in mortality," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 393-411, November.
  7. Shripad Tuljapurkar & Carl Boe, . "Mortality Change and Forecasting: How Much and How Little Do We Know?," Pension Research Council Working Papers 98-2, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
  8. Väinö Kannisto, 2000. "Measuring the compression of mortality," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 3(6), September.
  9. John Wilmoth & Shiro Horiuchi, 1999. "Rectangularization revisited: Variability of age at death within human populations," Demography, Springer, vol. 36(4), pages 475-495, November.
  10. John Bongaarts, 2005. "Long-range trends in adult mortality: Models and projection methods," Demography, Springer, vol. 42(1), pages 23-49, February.
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