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Conjugal Bereavement Effects on Health and Mortality at Advanced Ages

  • van den Berg, Gerard J.

    ()

    (University of Mannheim)

  • Lindeboom, Maarten

    ()

    (VU University Amsterdam)

  • Portrait, France

    ()

    (VU University Amsterdam)

We specify a model for the lifetimes of spouses and the dynamic evolution of health, allowing spousal death to have causal effects on the health and mortality of the survivor. We estimate the model using a longitudinal survey that traces many health status aspects over time, and that is linked to register data on the vital status of the individuals. The model takes account of selectivity in partners' mortality and health evolution. We find strong instantaneous effects of bereavement on mortality and on certain aspects of health. Individuals lose on average 12 % of residual life expectancy after bereavement. Bereavement affects the share of healthy years in residual lifetime, primarily because healthy years are replaced by years with chronic diseases.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2358.

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Length: 48 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Health Economics, 2011, 30 (4), 774-794
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2358
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  1. Lee Lillard & Constantijn Panis, 1996. "Marital status and mortality: The role of health," Demography, Springer, vol. 33(3), pages 313-327, August.
  2. Gritz, R. Mark, 1993. "The impact of training on the frequency and duration of employment," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1-3), pages 21-51.
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  6. Jaap H. Abbring & Gerard J. van den Berg, 2003. "The Nonparametric Identification of Treatment Effects in Duration Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(5), pages 1491-1517, 09.
  7. Orazio P. Attanasio & Carl Emmerson, 2001. "Differential Mortality in the UK," NBER Working Papers 8241, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  9. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-46, July-Aug..
  10. Deborah Carr & James S. House & Camille Wortman & Randolph Nesse & Ronald C. Kessler, 2001. "Psychological Adjustment to Sudden and Anticipated Spousal Loss Among Older Widowed Persons," Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Gerontological Society of America, vol. 56(4), pages S237-S248.
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