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Heterogeneity in Expected Longevities

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  • Pijoan-Mas, Josep
  • Ríos-Rull, José-Víctor

Abstract

We develop a new methodology to compute di fferences in the expected longevity of individuals who are in different socioeconomic groups at age 50. We deal with the two main problems associated with the standard use of life expectancy: that people's socioeconomic characteristics evolve over the life cycle and that there is a time trend that reduces mortality over time. Using HRS data we uncover an enormous amount of heterogeneity in expected longevities between individuals in di fferent socioeconomic groups. Additionally, our analysis allows us to provide an answer to the old question of how health protecting are education, wealth and marital status. To do so, we decompose the longevity di fferentials into differences in health at age 50, differences in the evolution of health with age, and di fferences in mortality conditional on health. Remarkably, the latter is the least important for most socioeconomic characteristics. In particular, education and wealth are health protecting but have very little impact on two-year mortality rates conditional on health. Finally, we document an increasing time trend of the socioeconomic gradient of longevity in the period 1992-2008, and a likely increase in the socioeconomic gradient of mortality rates in the near future. Last but not least, we show that the longevity di fferences that we find have welfare implications that dwarf the di fferences in consumption accruing to people in di efferent socioeconomic groups.

Suggested Citation

  • Pijoan-Mas, Josep & Ríos-Rull, José-Víctor, 2012. "Heterogeneity in Expected Longevities," CEPR Discussion Papers 9123, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9123
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    Cited by:

    1. Schünemann, Johannes & Strulik, Holger & Trimborn, Timo, 2017. "The gender gap in mortality: How much is explained by behavior?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 79-90.
    2. Carl-Johan Dalgaard & Holger Strulik, 2017. "The Genesis of the Golden Age: Accounting for the Rise in Health and Leisure," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 24, pages 132-151, March.
    3. repec:spr:series:v:8:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s13209-017-0162-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:eee:ehbiol:v:28:y:2018:i:c:p:173-181 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. James M. Poterba, 2014. "Retirement Security in an Aging Society," NBER Working Papers 19930, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Ana Hidalgo-Cabrillana & Zoë Kuehn & Cristina Lopez-Mayan, 2017. "Development accounting using PIAAC data," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 373-399, November.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    heterogeneity in mortality rates; inequality in health; life expectancies;

    JEL classification:

    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination

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