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On the Rise of Health Spending and Longevity

  • Raquel Fonseca


  • Pierre-Carl Michaud


  • Titus Galama
  • Arie Kapteyn


The authors use a calibrated stochastic life-cycle model of endogenous health spending, asset accumulation and retirement to investigate the causes behind the increase in health spending and life expectancy over the period 1965-2005. They estimate that technological change along with the increase in the generosity of health insurance may explain independently 53% of the rise in health spending (insurance 29% and technology 24%) while income less than 10%. By simultaneously occurring over this period, these changes may have lead to a "synergy" or interaction effect which helps explain an additional 37% increase in health spending. They estimate that technological change, taking the form of increased productivity at an annual rate of 1.8%, explains 59% of the rise in life expectancy at age 50 over this period while insurance and income explain less than 10%.

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Paper provided by RAND Corporation in its series Working Papers with number 722.

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Length: 50 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ran:wpaper:722
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  1. Eric French, 2000. "The effects of health, wealth, and wages on labor supply and retirement behavior," Working Paper Series WP-00-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  2. Hubbard, R Glenn & Skinner, Jonathan & Zeldes, Stephen P, 1995. "Precautionary Saving and Social Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 360-99, April.
  3. Hui He & Hao Zhang & Tim Halliday, 2010. "Health Investment over the Life-Cycle," 2010 Meeting Papers 1179, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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  9. James P. Smith, 2007. "The Impact of Socioeconomic Status on Health over the Life-Course," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(4).
  10. Peter Adams & Michael D. Hurd & Daniel L. McFadden & Angela Merrill & Tiago Ribeiro, 2004. "Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise? Tests for Direct Causal Paths between Health and Socioeconomic Status," NBER Chapters, in: Perspectives on the Economics of Aging, pages 415-526 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  12. Mariacristina De Nardi & Eric French & John Bailey Jones, 2006. "Differential Mortality, Uncertain Medical Expenses, and the Saving of Elderly Singles," 2006 Meeting Papers 46, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  13. Orazio P. Attanasio & Guglielmo Weber, 1994. "Is Consumption Growth Consistent with Intertemporal Optimization? Evidence from the Consumer Expenditure Survey," NBER Working Papers 4795, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Hurd, Michael D, 1989. "Mortality Risk and Bequests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 779-813, July.
  15. Cagetti, Marco, 2003. "Wealth Accumulation over the Life Cycle and Precautionary Savings," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 21(3), pages 339-53, July.
  16. Marquis, M. Susan & Long, Stephen H., 1995. "Worker demand for health insurance in the non-group market," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 47-63, May.
  17. Christian Habermann & Fabian Kindermann, 2007. "Multidimensional Spline Interpolation: Theory and Applications," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 30(2), pages 153-169, September.
  18. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 2007. "The Value of Life and the Rise in Health Spending," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 39-72.
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