IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/9933.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Becoming Oldest-Old: Evidence from Historical U.S. Data

Author

Listed:
  • Dora L. Costa
  • Joanna Lahey

Abstract

We argue that the environment determines life span, using historical data to show that such indicators of environmental insults in early childhood and young adulthood as quarter of birth, residence, occupation, wealth, and the incidence of specific infectious diseases affected older age mortality. Consistent with improvements in early life factors, we find that the effect of quarter of birth on older age mortality has diminished over the twentieth century and that the declining impact of quarter of birth explains 16 to 17 percent of the difference in ten year mortality rates of Americans age 60-79 in 1900 and in 1960-1980. We estimate that at least one-fifth of the increase between 1900 and 1999 in the probability of a 65 year old surviving to age 85 may be attributable to early life conditions. We also present suggestive evidence on the mortality trajectory of the oldest old in the first half of the twentieth century that implies that the shape of the mortality trajectory, though not its level, has remained constant.

Suggested Citation

  • Dora L. Costa & Joanna Lahey, 2003. "Becoming Oldest-Old: Evidence from Historical U.S. Data," NBER Working Papers 9933, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9933
    Note: IFM
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w9933.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Dora Costa & Richard H. Steckel, 1997. "Long-Term Trends in Health, Welfare, and Economic Growth in the United States," NBER Chapters,in: Health and Welfare during Industrialization, pages 47-90 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Steckel, Richard H., 1988. "The Health and Mortality of Women and Children, 1850–1860," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 48(02), pages 333-345, June.
    3. Robert Fogel & Dora Costa, 1997. "A theory of technophysio evolution, with some implications for forecasting population, health care costs, and pension costs," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 34(1), pages 49-66, February.
    4. Dora Costa, 2000. "Understanding the twentieth-century decline in chronic conditions among older men," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 37(1), pages 53-72, February.
    5. Samuel H. Preston & Michael R. Haines, 1991. "Fatal Years: Child Mortality in Late Nineteenth-Century America," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number pres91-1, April.
    6. Kenneth Y. Chay & Michael Greenstone, 2003. "The Impact of Air Pollution on Infant Mortality: Evidence from Geographic Variation in Pollution Shocks Induced by a Recession," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1121-1167.
    7. Fogel, Robert W, 1994. "Economic Growth, Population Theory, and Physiology: The Bearing of Long-Term Processes on the Making of Economic Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 369-395, June.
    8. Mario Sanchez, 2003. "Internal Migration, Return Migration, and Mortality. Evidence from Panel Data on Union Army Veterans," NBER Chapters,in: Health and Labor Force Participation over the Life Cycle: Evidence from the Past, pages 203-230 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Werner Troesken, 2003. "Lead Water Pipes and Infant Mortality in Turn-of-the-Century Massachusetts," NBER Working Papers 9549, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2005. "The Relationship Between Education and Adult Mortality in the United States," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(1), pages 189-221.
    11. Costa, Dora L., 2003. "Understanding mid-life and older age mortality declines: evidence from Union Army veterans," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 112(1), pages 175-192, January.
    12. Costa, Dora L., 2004. "Race and Pregnancy Outcomes in the Twentieth Century: A Long-Term Comparison," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 64(04), pages 1056-1086, December.
    13. Preston, Samuel H. & Hill, Mark E. & Drevenstedt, Greg L., 1998. "Childhood conditions that predict survival to advanced ages among African-Americans," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 47(9), pages 1231-1246, November.
    14. Kenneth Manton & Eric Stallard & Larry Corder, 1997. "Changes in the age dependence of mortality and disability: Cohort and other determinants," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 34(1), pages 135-157, February.
    15. David Cutler & Mark McClellan & Joseph Newhouse, 1998. "The Costs and Benefits of Intensive Treatment for Cardiovascular Disease," NBER Working Papers 6514, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Dora Costa, 2002. "Changing chronic disease rates and longterm declines in functional limitation among older men," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 39(1), pages 119-137, February.
    17. Costa Dora L., 1993. "Height, Weight, Wartime Stress, and Older Age Mortality: Evidence from the Union Army Records," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 424-449, October.
    18. Goldin, Claudia & Margo, Robert A., 1989. "The poor at birth: Birth weights and infant mortality at Philadelphia's almshouse hospital, 1848-1873," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 360-379, July.
    19. Arjan Gjonca & Hilke Brockmann & Heiner Maier, 2000. "Old-Age Mortality in Germany prior to and after Reunification," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 3(1), July.
    20. Michael R Ransom & C. Arden Pope Iii, 1995. "External Health Costs Of A Steel Mill," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 13(2), pages 86-97, April.
    21. Dora L. Costa, 2003. "Health and Labor Force Participation over the Life Cycle: Evidence from the Past," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number cost03-1, April.
    22. Steckel, Richard H., 1986. "A Peculiar Population: The Nutrition, Health, and Mortality of American Slaves from Childhood to Maturity," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(03), pages 721-741, September.
    23. Martin Neil Baily & Alan M. Garber, 1997. "Health Care Productivity," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(1997 Micr), pages 143-216.
    24. Shiro Horiuchi & John Wilmoth, 1998. "Deceleration in the age pattern of mortality at olderages," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 35(4), pages 391-412, November.
    25. Chulhee Lee, 2003. "Prior Exposure to Disease and Later Health and Mortality. Evidence from Civil War Medical Records," NBER Chapters,in: Health and Labor Force Participation over the Life Cycle: Evidence from the Past, pages 51-88 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Ianina Rossi & Fernanda Tellechea & Fiorella Tramontin & Patricia Triunfo, 2007. "El estado de salud de los uruguayos," Estudios de Economia, University of Chile, Department of Economics, vol. 34(1 Year 20), pages 73-96, June.
    2. Dora L. Costa, 2015. "Health and the Economy in the United States from 1750 to the Present," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 53(3), pages 503-570, September.
    3. Dora Costa, 2012. "Scarring and Mortality Selection Among Civil War POWs: A Long-Term Mortality, Morbidity, and Socioeconomic Follow-Up," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 49(4), pages 1185-1206, November.
    4. Kaizô Iwakami Beltrão & Sonoe Sugahara & Danilo Cláudio Da Silva & Elder Vieira Salles, 2004. "Tábuas de Mortalidade no Mercado Brasileiro de Seguros - Uma Comparação," Discussion Papers 1047, Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada - IPEA.
    5. Dora L. Costa & Matthew E. Kahn, 2008. "Health, Stress, and Social Networks: Evidence from Union Army Veterans," NBER Working Papers 14053, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Dora Costa & Matthew Kahn, 2010. "Health, wartime stress, and unit cohesion: Evidence from Union Army veterans," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 47(1), pages 45-66, February.
    7. Dora L. Costa, 2004. "Race and Older Age Mortality: Evidence from Union Army Veterans," NBER Working Papers 10902, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9933. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.