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

  • Wunder, Christoph

    ()

    (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg)

  • Schwarze, Johannes

    (University of Bamberg)

Registered author(s):

    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.

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    File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp4485.pdf
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    Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4485.

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    Length: 33 pages
    Date of creation: Oct 2009
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4485
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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, 2003. "Lags and Leads in Life Satisfaction: A Test of the Baseline Hypothesis," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 371, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    3. Edwin Leuven & Barbara Sianesi, 2003. "PSMATCH2: Stata module to perform full Mahalanobis and propensity score matching, common support graphing, and covariate imbalance testing," Statistical Software Components S432001, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 19 Jan 2015.
    4. Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP): Scope, Evolution and Enhancements," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 1, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    5. Long Ngo & Matthew P. Wand, . "Smoothing with Mixed Model Software," Journal of Statistical Software, American Statistical Association, vol. 9(i01).
    6. 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.
    7. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521780506 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. 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.
    9. 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, 06.
    10. 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.
    11. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521785167 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Bruce Headey, 2007. "The Set-Point Theory of Well-Being Needs Replacing: On the Brink of a Scientific Revolution?," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 55, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    13. 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.
    14. 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).
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