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Optimal Aging and Death

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  • Carl-Johan Dalgaard
  • Holger Strulik

Abstract

This study introduces physiological aging into a simple model of optimal in- tertemporal consumption. In this endeavor we draw on the natural science literature on aging. According to the purposed theory, the speed of the aging process and the time of death are endogenously determined by optimal health investments. At the same time, physiological aspects of the aging process influence optimal savings and health investment. We calibrate the model for the average US male in 2000 and proceed to show that the calibrated model accounts well for the cross-country link between labor productivity and life expectancy in the same year (\the Preston curve"); cross-country income di erences can explain di erences in life expectancy at age 20 of up to a decade. Moreover, techno- logical change in health care of about 1.1% per year can account for the observed shift in the Preston curve between 1980 and 2000.K

Suggested Citation

  • Carl-Johan Dalgaard & Holger Strulik, 2010. "Optimal Aging and Death," PGDA Working Papers 5810, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.
  • Handle: RePEc:gdm:wpaper:5810
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    File URL: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/pgda/WorkingPapers/2010/PGDA_WP_58.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Angus Deaton, 2003. "Health, Inequality, and Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(1), pages 113-158, March.
    2. Matteo Cervellati & Uwe Sunde, 2005. "Human Capital Formation, Life Expectancy, and the Process of Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1653-1672, December.
    3. David M. Cutler & Mark McClellan & Joseph P. Newhouse & Dahlia Remler, 1998. "Are Medical Prices Declining? Evidence from Heart Attack Treatments," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 991-1024.
    4. Karen E. Dynan & Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, 2002. "The Importance of Bequests and Life-Cycle Saving in Capital Accumulation: A New Answer," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 274-278, May.
    5. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-484, July.
    6. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2007. "The Neolithic Revolution and Contemporary Variations in Life Expectancy," Working Papers 2007-14, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    7. Ehrlich, Isaac & Chuma, Hiroyuki, 1990. "A Model of the Demand for Longevity and the Value of Life Extension," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 761-782, August.
    8. Eisenring, Christoph, 1999. "Comparative dynamics in a health investment model," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(5), pages 653-658, October.
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Optimal aging
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2011-01-21 22:25:00

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    Cited by:

    1. Strulik, Holger, 2011. "Optimal Aging with Uncertain Death," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-488, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
    2. Kevin X. D. Huang & Hui He, 2013. "Why Do Americans Spend So Much More on Health Care than Europeans?," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 13-00021, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
    3. 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.
    4. Strulik, Holger, 2011. "Health and Education: Understanding the Gradient," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-487, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Aging; Longevity; Health Investments; Savings; Preston Curve;
    All these keywords.

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