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How We Fall Apart: Similarities of Human Aging in 10 European Countries

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  • Ana Lucia Abeliansky

    () (University of Göttingen)

  • Holger Strulik

    () (University of Göttingen)

Abstract

We analyze human aging—understood as health deficit accumulation—for a panel of European individuals, using four waves of the Survey of Health, Aging and Retirement in Europe (SHARE data set) and constructing a health deficit index. Results from log-linear regressions suggest that, on average, elderly European men and women develop approximately 2.5 % more health deficits from one birthday to the next. In nonlinear regressions (akin to the Gompertz-Makeham model), however, we find much greater rates of aging and large differences between men and women as well as between countries. Interestingly, these differences follow a particular regularity (akin to the compensation effect of mortality) and suggest an age at which average health deficits converge for men and women and across countries. This age, which may be associated with human life span, is estimated as 102 ± 2.6 years.

Suggested Citation

  • Ana Lucia Abeliansky & Holger Strulik, 2018. "How We Fall Apart: Similarities of Human Aging in 10 European Countries," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 55(1), pages 341-359, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:demogr:v:55:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s13524-017-0641-8
    DOI: 10.1007/s13524-017-0641-8
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    Cited by:

    1. Ivan Frankovic & Michael Kuhn & Stefan Wrzaczek, 2020. "On the Anatomy of Medical Progress Within an Overlapping Generations Economy," De Economist, Springer, vol. 168(2), pages 215-257, June.
    2. Abeliansky, Ana Lucia & Strulik, Holger, 2018. "Hungry children age faster," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 211-220.
    3. Strulik, Holger & Werner, Katharina, 2021. "Time-inconsistent health behavior and its impact on aging and longevity," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(C).
    4. Frankovic, Ivan & Kuhn, Michael & Wrzaczek, Stefan, 2020. "Medical innovation and its diffusion: Implications for economic performance and welfare," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 66(C).
    5. Börsch-Supan, Axel & Ferrari, Irene & Salerno, Luca, 2021. "Long-run health trends in Europe," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 18(C).
    6. Dalgaard, Carl-Johan & Hansen, Casper Worm & Strulik, Holger, 2020. "Fetal origins: A life cycle model of health and aging from conception to death," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 400, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    7. Abeliansky, Ana Lucia & Erel, Devin & Strulik, Holger, 2019. "Aging in the USA: Similarities and disparities across time and space," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 384, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    8. Abeliansky, Ana Lucia & Strulik, Holger, 2019. "Long-run improvements in human health: Steady but unequal," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 14(C).
    9. Strulik, Holger, 2019. "An economic theory of depression and its impact on health behavior and longevity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 269-287.
    10. Dragone, Davide & Strulik, Holger, 2020. "Negligible senescence: An economic life cycle model for the future," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 171(C), pages 264-285.
    11. Abeliansky, Ana Lucia & Strulik, Holger, 2018. "How season of birth affects health and aging," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 352, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    12. Ivan Frankovic & Michael Kuhn & Stefan Wrzaczek, 2020. "On the Anatomy of Medical Progress Within an Overlapping Generations Economy," De Economist, Springer, vol. 168(2), pages 215-257, June.
    13. Carl-Johan Dalgaard & Casper Worm Hansen & Holger Strulik, 2017. "Accounting for Fetal Origins: Health Capital vs. Health Deficits," Discussion Papers 17-11, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    14. Abeliansky, Ana Lucia & Strulik, Holger, 2020. "Season of birth, health and aging," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 36(C).
    15. Dalgaard, Carl-Johan & Hansen, Casper Worm & Strulik, Holger, 2018. "Physiological Aging around the World and Economic Growth," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 375, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    16. Abeliansky, Ana & Strulik, Holger, 2020. "Health and aging before and after retirement," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 397, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Aging; Health deficit index; Europe; Gender differences; Human life span;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I19 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Other

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