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Long-run improvements in human health: Steady but unequal

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  • Abeliansky, Ana Lucia
  • Strulik, Holger

Abstract

There exists a steady trend at which later born cohorts, at the same age, are healthier than earlier born cohorts. We show this trend by computing a health deficit index for a panel of 14 European Countries and six waves of the Survey of Health, Aging, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). We find that for each year of later birth, health deficits decline by on average 1.4 - 1.5 percent with insignificant differences between men and women, between countries, and over time. We argue that this trend approximates the rate of medical progress, broadly defined. The steady progress implies substantial delays of human aging. For example, the level of health deficits experienced at age 65 by individuals born 1920 is predicted to be experienced at age 85 by individuals born 1945. The potential health gains are not fully appropriated by individuals of low socio-economic status. Their health deficits decline at about the same rate but from a higher level, which means that we find long-run persistence of health inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • Abeliansky, Ana Lucia & Strulik, Holger, 2018. "Long-run improvements in human health: Steady but unequal," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 355, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:cegedp:355
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Börsch-Supan, Axel & Ferrari, Irene & Salerno, Luca, 2021. "Long-run health trends in Europe," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 18(C).
    2. Davide Dragone & Holger Strulik, 2018. "Negligible Senescence: An Economic Life Cycle Model for the Future," CESifo Working Paper Series 7246, CESifo.
    3. Abeliansky, Ana & Strulik, Holger, 2020. "Health and aging before and after retirement," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 397, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    4. Abeliansky, Ana Lucia & Erel, Devin & Strulik, Holger, 2019. "Aging in the USA: Similarities and disparities across time and space," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 384, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    5. Dragone, Davide & Strulik, Holger, 2020. "Negligible senescence: An economic life cycle model for the future," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 171(C), pages 264-285.
    6. Abeliansky, Ana Lucia & Strulik, Holger, 2020. "Season of birth, health and aging," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 36(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    health; aging; health deficit index; medical progress; health inequality;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality

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