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Life Potential as a Basic Demographic Indicator


  • Goerlich Gisbert Francisco J.

    () (Ivie; Universidad de Valencia)

  • Soler Guillen Ángel

    () (Universidad de Valencia e Ivie)


This working paper proposes an indicator that integrates life expectancy with the demographic structure of the pop ulation for a given society, combining the simple indica tors of mortality and aging. Life expectancy at birth is in-dependent of the demographic structure of the population and is, therefore, adequate for measuring overall mortality. However, it neglects to take into account the fact that life expectancy increases as society ages. We propose a simple indicator that integrates life expectancy at different ages, not only at birth, with the demographic structure of the popula-tion at a given point in time. The indicator has an intuitive interpretation in terms of the life potential, or biological capital, of society; and given that it is a weighted average, its changes can be easily decomposed into reductions in mortality (gains in life expectancy) and aging for different age intervals.

Suggested Citation

  • Goerlich Gisbert Francisco J. & Soler Guillen Ángel, 2012. "Life Potential as a Basic Demographic Indicator," Working Papers 2012111, Fundacion BBVA / BBVA Foundation.
  • Handle: RePEc:fbb:wpaper:2012111

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Michael Grossman, 1972. "The Demand for Health: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gros72-1, January.
    2. Li Gan & Michael D. Hurd & Daniel L. McFadden, 2005. "Individual Subjective Survival Curves," NBER Chapters,in: Analyses in the Economics of Aging, pages 377-412 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Osberg, Lars & Sharpe, Andrew, 2002. "An Index of Economic Well-Being for Selected OECD Countries," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 48(3), pages 291-316, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Udaya S Mishra & Mohammad Kashif Khan & Mala Ramanathan, 2013. "Should life potential be a better alternative to life expectancy at birth? an Indian illustration," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 33(2), pages 1311-1316.

    More about this item


    Life expectancy; life table; aging; demography.;

    JEL classification:

    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination


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