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Individual survival curves comparing subjective and observed mortality risks

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  • Luc Bissonnette
  • Michael D. Hurd
  • Pierre‐Carl Michaud

Abstract

We compare individual survival curves constructed from objective (actual mortality) and elicited subjective information (probability of survival to a given target age). We develop a methodology to estimate jointly subjective and objective individual survival curves accounting for rounding on subjective reports of perceived survival. We make use of the long follow‐up period in the Health and Retirement Study and the high quality of mortality data to estimate individual survival curves that feature both observed and unobserved heterogeneity. This allows us to compare objective and subjective estimates of remaining life expectancy for various groups and compare welfare effects of objective and subjective mortality risk using the life cycle model of consumption. We find that subjective and objective hazards are not the same. The median welfare loss from misperceptions of mortality risk when annuities are not available is 7% of current wealth at age 65 whereas more than 25% of respondents have losses larger than 60% of wealth. When annuities are available and exogenously given, the welfare loss is substantially lower.

Suggested Citation

  • Luc Bissonnette & Michael D. Hurd & Pierre‐Carl Michaud, 2017. "Individual survival curves comparing subjective and observed mortality risks," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(12), pages 285-303, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:26:y:2017:i:12:p:e285-e303
    DOI: 10.1002/hec.3506
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    Cited by:

    1. Sanna Nivakoski, 2020. "Wealth and the effect of subjective survival probability," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 33(2), pages 633-670, April.
    2. Weinert, Jan-Hendrik & Gründl, Helmut, 2016. "The modern tontine: An innovative instrument for longevity risk management in an aging society," ICIR Working Paper Series 22/16, Goethe University Frankfurt, International Center for Insurance Regulation (ICIR).
    3. Cormac O'Dea & David Sturrock, 2019. "Survival pessimism and the demand for annuities," IFS Working Papers W19/02, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    4. Olivera, Javier, 2019. "The distribution of pension wealth in Europe," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 13(C), pages 30-42.
    5. L. Bissonnette & J. de Bresser, 2018. "Eliciting Subjective Survival Curves: Lessons from Partial Identification," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(3), pages 505-515, July.
    6. Bell, D.N.F. & Comerford, D.A. & Douglas, E., 2020. "How do subjective life expectancies compare with mortality tables? Similarities and differences in three national samples," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 16(C).
    7. Federica Teppa & Susan Thorp & Hazel Bateman, 2015. "Family, friends and framing: A cross-country study of subjective survival expectations," DNB Working Papers 491, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    8. Nils Grevenbrock & Max Groneck & Alexander Ludwig & Alexander Zimper, 2021. "Cognition, Optimism, And The Formation Of Age‐Dependent Survival Beliefs," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 62(2), pages 887-918, May.
    9. Groneck, Max & Ludwig, Alexander & Zimper, Alexander, 2016. "A life-cycle model with ambiguous survival beliefs," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 137-180.
    10. Vesile Kutlu-Koc & Adriaan Kalwij, 2017. "Individual Survival Expectations and Actual Mortality: Evidence from Dutch Survey and Administrative Data," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 33(4), pages 509-532, October.
    11. Juerg Schweri, 2021. "Predicting polytomous career choices in healthcare using probabilistic expectations data," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(3), pages 544-563, March.
    12. de Bresser, Jochem, 2019. "Measuring subjective survival expectations – Do response scales matter?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 165(C), pages 136-156.
    13. de Bresser, Jochem, 2019. "Measuring Subjective Survival Expectations : Do Response Scales Matter?," Other publications TiSEM 53bc2ec3-4126-4dfb-81f3-8, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    14. Teresa Bago d'Uva & Esen Erdogan Ciftci & Owen O'Donnell & Eddy van Doorslaer, 2015. "Who can predict their Own Demise? Accuracy of Longevity Expectations by Education and Cognition," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 15-052/V, Tinbergen Institute.
    15. Frank Cowell & Brian Nolan & Javier Olivera & Philippe Van Kerm, 2017. "Wealth, Top Incomes and Inequality," LWS Working papers 24, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    16. Cormac O'Dea & David Sturrock, 2018. "Subjective expectations of survival and economic behaviour," IFS Working Papers W18/14, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    17. Cormac O'Dea & David Sturrock, 2021. "Survival Pessimism and the Demand for Annuities," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 2276, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    18. Bago d'Uva, Teresa & O'Donnell, Owen & van Doorslaer, Eddy, 2020. "Who can predict their own demise? Heterogeneity in the accuracy and value of longevity expectations☆," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 17(C).
    19. Dimiter Philipov & Sergei Scherbov, 2020. "Subjective length of life of European individuals at older ages: Temporal and gender distinctions," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 15(3), pages 1-14, March.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General

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