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Long-Term declines in Disability Among Older Men: Medical Care, Public Health, and Occupational Change

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  • D. L. Costa

Abstract

Functional disability (difficulty in walking , difficulty in bending, paralysis, blindness in at least one eye, and deafness in at least one ear) in the United States has fallen at an average annual rate of 0.6 percent among men age 50 to 74 from the early twentieth century to the early 1990s. Twenty-four to 41 percent of this decline is attributable to innovations in medical care, 37 percent to reduced chronic disease rates, and the remainder is unexplained. The portion due to reduced chronic disease rates can be subdivided into the 9 percent accounted for by reduced infectious disease rates (particularly rheumatic fever, malaria, typhoid, and acute respiratory infections), the 7 percent accounted for by occupational shifts away from manual labor and to white collar jobs, and the 21 percent that is unexplained.
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Suggested Citation

  • D. L. Costa, 2000. "Long-Term declines in Disability Among Older Men: Medical Care, Public Health, and Occupational Change," CPE working papers 0005, University of Chicago - Centre for Population Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:chicpw:0005
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1998:88:10:1457-1462_8 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. R Todd Jewell & Maximo Rossi & Patricia Triunfo, 2006. "El Estado de Salud de los Jóvenes Uruguayos," Latin American Journal of Economics-formerly Cuadernos de Economía, Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile., vol. 43(128), pages 235-250.
    2. 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.
    3. Pope, Clayne, 2009. "Measuring the distribution of material well-being: U.S. trends," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 66-78, January.
    4. 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.
    5. Peter Viechnicki, 2003. "Appendix B. Properties and Availability of the Union Army Life-Cycle Sample," NBER Chapters,in: Health and Labor Force Participation over the Life Cycle: Evidence from the Past, pages 323-334 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Máximo Rossi & Patricia Triunfo, 2004. "El Estado de Salud del Adulto Mayor en Uruguay," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 1404, Department of Economics - dECON.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    disability; morbidity; occupational change; economic history; labor-force participation;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • N31 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913

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