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Looking for private information in self-assessed health


  • James Banks
  • Thomas Crossley
  • Simo Goshev


The paper investigates whether self-assessed health status (SAH) contains information about future mortality and morbidity, beyond the information that is contained in standard “observable” characteristics of individuals (including pre-existing diagnosed medical conditions). Using a ten-year span of the Canadian National Population Health Survey, we find that SAH does contain private information for future mortality and morbidity. Moreover the extra information in SAH is greater at older ages. In many developed countries there a major shift occurring from defined benefit (DB) to defined contributions (DC) pension arrangements. One consequence of this shift is an effective delay in the age at which workers commit to an annuity. Our results therefore suggest that adverse selection problems in annuity markets are likely to be more severe at older ages, and therefore, that the DB to DC shift may expose workers to greater longevity risk. This is an aspect of the DB to DC shift which has received little attention.

Suggested Citation

  • James Banks & Thomas Crossley & Simo Goshev, 2007. "Looking for private information in self-assessed health," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 07/09, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  • Handle: RePEc:yor:hectdg:07/09

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    5. Meeusen, Wim & van den Broeck, Julien, 1977. "Efficiency Estimation from Cobb-Douglas Production Functions with Composed Error," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 18(2), pages 435-444, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Amelie C. Wuppermann, 2017. "Private Information in Life Insurance, Annuity, and Health Insurance Markets," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 119(4), pages 855-881, October.
    2. Furmanov, Kirill & Chernysheva, Irina, 2012. "Health and job search in Russia," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 26(2), pages 62-91.
    3. Edlira Shehu & Annette Hofmann & Michel Clement & Ann-Christin Langmaack, 2015. "Healthy donor effect and satisfaction with health," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 16(7), pages 733-745, September.
    4. Wuppermann, Amelie Catherine, 2011. "Empirical Essays in Health and Education Economics," Munich Dissertations in Economics 13187, University of Munich, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    Self-Assessed Health; Annuities; Mortality; Morbidity;

    JEL classification:

    • H0 - Public Economics - - General
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health

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