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German unification and the plasticity of mortality at older ages

Author

Listed:
  • Rembrandt D. Scholz

    (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)

  • Heiner Maier

    (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)

Abstract

German unification can be seen as a natural experiment that allows us to study the health effects of political and economic transition. This study examined old-age survival following German unification in cohorts born in 1895, 1900, 1905 and 1910. People born in these years were in their 80s and 90s at the time of unification in 1990. Before unification, mortality in these cohorts was considerably higher in East Germany than in the West. Following unification, mortality in the East declined toward prevailing levels in the West, particularly among women. This indicates that even the very-old East Germans were able to profit from the medical, social, and economic improvements associated with unification. Study results support the view that old-age mortality is plastic and amenable to intervention, and they attest to the importance of late-life events.

Suggested Citation

  • Rembrandt D. Scholz & Heiner Maier, 2003. "German unification and the plasticity of mortality at older ages," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2003-031, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2003-031
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    File URL: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/papers/working/wp-2003-031.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. A. Roger Thatcher & Väinö Kannisto & Kirill F. Andreev, 2002. "The Survivor Ratio Method for Estimating Numbers at High Ages," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 6(1), pages 1-18, January.
    2. Arjan Gjonca & Hilke Brockmann & Heiner Maier, 2000. "Old-Age Mortality in Germany prior to and after Reunification," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 3(1), July.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Maxim S. Finkelstein, 2003. "Age correspondence for different mortality regimes with and without the change point," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2003-039, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    2. Roland Rau & Eugeny Soroko & Domantas Jasilionis & James W. Vaupel, 2008. "Continued Reductions in Mortality at Advanced Ages," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 34(4), pages 747-768.
    3. Roland Rau & Eugeny L. Soroko & Domantas Jasilionis & James W. Vaupel, 2006. "10 years after Kannisto: further evidence for mortality decline at advanced ages in developed countries," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2006-033, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    4. Maxim S. Finkelstein, 2003. "Modeling failure (mortality) rate with a change point," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2003-041, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Germany;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General

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