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Limits to Human Life Span Through Extreme Value Theory

Author

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  • Einmahl, Jesson
  • Einmahl, John

    (Tilburg University, Center For Economic Research)

  • de Haan, L.F.M.

    (Tilburg University, Center For Economic Research)

Abstract

There is no scientific consensus on the fundamental question whether the probability distribution of the human life span has a finite endpoint or not and, if so, whether this upper limit changes over time. Our study uses a unique dataset of the ages at death—in days—of all (about 285,000) Dutch residents, born in the Netherlands, who died in the years 1986–2015 at a minimum age of 92 years and is based on extreme value theory, the coherent approach to research problems of this type. Unlike some other studies, we base our analysis on the configuration of thousands of mortality data of old people, not just the few oldest old. We find compelling statistical evidence that there is indeed an upper limit to the life span of men and to that of women for all the 30 years we consider and, moreover, that there are no indications of trends in these upper limits over the last 30 years, despite the fact that the number of people reaching high age (say 95 years) was almost tripling. We also present estimates for the endpoints, for the force of mortality at very high age, and for the so-called perseverance parameter. Supplementary materials for this article, including a standardized description of the materials available for reproducing the work, are available as an online supplement.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Einmahl, Jesson & Einmahl, John & de Haan, L.F.M., 2017. "Limits to Human Life Span Through Extreme Value Theory," Discussion Paper 2017-051, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:tiu:tiucen:46b8d3f3-34c3-4936-90ee-8dc4e7086ce6
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Samuel Gbari & Michel Poulain & Luc Dal & Michel Denuit, 2017. "Extreme Value Analysis of Mortality at the Oldest Ages: A Case Study Based on Individual Ages at Death," North American Actuarial Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(3), pages 397-416, July.
    2. Gbari, Kock Yed Ake Samuel & Poulain, Michel & Dal, Luc & Denuit, Michel, 2017. "Extreme Value Analysis of Mortality at the Oldest Ages: A Case Study Based on Individual Ages at Death," LIDAM Reprints ISBA 2017028, Université catholique de Louvain, Institute of Statistics, Biostatistics and Actuarial Sciences (ISBA).
    3. Kathryn Watts & Debbie Dupuis & Bruce Jones, 2006. "An Extreme Value Analysis Of Advanced Age Mortality Data," North American Actuarial Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(4), pages 162-178.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Sam Watson’s journal round-up for 3rd June 2019
      by Sam Watson in The Academic Health Economists' Blog on 2019-06-03 11:00:40

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    Cited by:

    1. Broeders, Dirk & Mehlkopf, Roel & van Ool, Annick, 2021. "The economics of sharing macro-longevity risk," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 440-458.
    2. Huang, Fei & Maller, Ross & Ning, Xu, 2020. "Modelling life tables with advanced ages: An extreme value theory approach," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 95-115.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    aging; endpoint; extreme value indez; oldest; statistics of extremes;
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