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A mixed blessing of lifespan heterogeneity


  • Gahramanov, Emin
  • Tang, Xueli


Human mortality data reveal that life expectancy in industrialized countries has been converging to a common value. Yet, significant variations in the distributions of adult life-table ages at death among some developed countries have also been observed. This paper, largely motivated by Japan’s mortality data, presents a general equilibrium, overlapping-generations model that assesses the welfare effects of the mean-preserving declines in the variance of the distribution of adult ages at death. Our quantitative exercise reveals that for a given value of the economy-wide life expectancy, the individual welfare effects due to switching from high to low-variance steady states are length of life-dependent, quite sensitive to the average economy-wide retirement age, and strongly influenced by associated changes in the labor supply, factor prices, and lifetime earnings.

Suggested Citation

  • Gahramanov, Emin & Tang, Xueli, 2013. "A mixed blessing of lifespan heterogeneity," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 142-153.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jjieco:v:29:y:2013:i:c:p:142-153 DOI: 10.1016/j.jjie.2013.07.001

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    Cited by:

    1. Ewald, Christian-Oliver & Zhang, Aihua, 2017. "On the effects of changing mortality patterns on investment, labour and consumption under uncertainty," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 105-115.

    More about this item


    General equilibrium; Lifespan heterogeneity; Life expectancy; Variance in adult age at death; Compensating variation;

    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • E20 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J17 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Value of Life; Foregone Income


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