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Is Posner Right? An Empirical Test of the Posner Argument for Transferring Health Spending from Old Women to Old Men

Author

Listed:
  • Wunder, Christoph

    () (Martin-Luther University, Halle-Wittenberg)

  • Schwarze, Johannes

    (University of Bamberg)

Abstract

Posner (1995) proposes the redistribution of health spending from old women to old men to equalize life expectancy. His argument is based on the assumption that women's utility is higher if they are married. Thus, extending the lifespan of men would benefit women. Using life satisfaction data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP), we conduct an empirical test of this assumption. We apply a two-step estimation strategy: first, we use a propensity score matching approach to generate a control group of non-widowed women. The average level of life satisfaction in the control group serves as a reference to measure the degree of adaptation to widowhood. In the second step, the life satisfaction trajectories of both groups are estimated using penalized spline regressions. The results suggest bereavement has no enduring effect on life satisfaction, and that falsifies Posner's assumption.

Suggested Citation

  • Wunder, Christoph & Schwarze, Johannes, 2009. "Is Posner Right? An Empirical Test of the Posner Argument for Transferring Health Spending from Old Women to Old Men," IZA Discussion Papers 4485, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4485
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rasmusen, Eric, 1996. "The Posner argument for transferring health spending from old women to olden men," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 337-339, December.
    2. Andrew E. Clark & Ed Diener & Yannis Georgellis & Richard E. Lucas, 2008. "Lags And Leads in Life Satisfaction: a Test of the Baseline Hypothesis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(529), pages 222-243, June.
    3. Bruce Headey, 2007. "The Set-Point Theory of Well-Being Needs Replacing: On the Brink of a Scientific Revolution?," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 753, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    4. Christoph Wunder & Andrea Wiencierz & Johannes Schwarze & Helmut Küchenhoff & Sara Kleyer & Philipp Bleninger, 2009. "Well-Being over the Life Span: Semiparametric Evidence from British and German Longitudinal Data," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 179, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    5. Donald B. Rubin, 2005. "Causal Inference Using Potential Outcomes: Design, Modeling, Decisions," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 100, pages 322-331, March.
    6. Ngo, Long & Wand, Matthew P., 2004. "Smoothing with Mixed Model Software," Journal of Statistical Software, Foundation for Open Access Statistics, vol. 9(i01).
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    8. Guido W. Imbens, 2004. "Nonparametric Estimation of Average Treatment Effects Under Exogeneity: A Review," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 4-29, February.
    9. Christoph Wunder & Andrea Wiencierz & Johannes Schwarze & Helmut Küchenhoff & Sara Kleyer & Philipp Bleninger, 2009. "Well-Being over the Life Span: Semiparametric Evidence from British and German Longitudinal Data," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 889, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    10. Ruppert,David & Wand,M. P. & Carroll,R. J., 2003. "Semiparametric Regression," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521785167.
    11. Brent A. Coull & David Ruppert & M. P. Wand, 2001. "Simple Incorporation of Interactions into Additive Models," Biometrics, The International Biometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 539-545, June.
    12. Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) – Scope, Evolution and Enhancements," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 127(1), pages 139-169.
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Should old women pay for the health of old men?
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2009-12-15 09:34:00

    More about this item

    Keywords

    widowhood; adaptation; subjective well-being; life satisfaction; penalized spline regression; propensity score matching;

    JEL classification:

    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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