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The Predictive Validity of Subjective Probabilities of Survival

  • Michael D. Hurd

    (RAND and NBER)

  • Kathleen McGarry

    (University of California, Los Angeles and NBER)

Although expectations, or more precisely subjective probability distributions, play a prominent role in models of decision making under uncertainty, we have had very little data on them. Based on panel data from the Health and Retirement Study, we study the evolution of subjective survival probabilities and their ability to predict actual mortality. In panel, respondents modify their survival probabilities in response to new information such as the onset of a new disease condition. Subjective survival probabilities predict actual survival: those who survived in the panel reported survival probabilities approximately 50% greater at baseline than those who died. Copyright Royal Economic Society 2002

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Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 112 (2002)
Issue (Month): 482 (October)
Pages: 966-985

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:112:y:2002:i:482:p:966-985
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  1. Jeff Dominitz & Charles F. Manski, 1994. "Using Expectations Data to Study Subjective Income Expectations," NBER Working Papers 4937, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Hamermesh, Daniel S, 1985. "Expectations, Life Expectancy, and Economic Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(2), pages 389-408, May.
  3. F. Thomas Juster, 1966. "Consumer Buying Intentions and Purchase Probability: An Experiment in Survey Design," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number just66-2.
  4. Manski, C.F., 1989. "The Use Of Intentions Data To Predict Behaviour : A Best- Case Analysis," Working papers 8905, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
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