Avoidable mortality risks and measurement of wellbeing and inequality
This paper proposes a data envelopment method to separate avoidable and unavoidable mortality risks. As unavoidable mortality is either beyond the control of humanity or likely to be very cost-ineffective to reduce in the short to medium term, avoidable mortality is of much greater practical relevance in measuring wellbeing and inequality. The new method is applied to a dataset consisting of life tables for 191 countries in the year 2000 to obtain a reference distribution of unavoidable mortality risks. The reference distribution is used to improve on the standard age-at-death measure to obtain an age-at-avoidable-death measure. Compared with the standard measure, age-at-avoidable-death provides a very different picture of wellbeing, and more so when it comes to inequality measures.
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