nep-age New Economics Papers
on Economics of Ageing
Issue of 2023‒06‒12
twelve papers chosen by
Claudia Villosio
LABORatorio R. Revelli

  1. Retirement Reforms Are Necessary—So Is Strengthening Social Security By Owen Davis; Siavash Radpour; Teresa Ghilarducci
  2. The Older Workers and Retirement Chartbook By Monique Morrissey; Siavash Radpour; Barbara Schuster
  3. Physically Demanding Jobs and Involuntary Retirement Worsen Retirement Insecurity By Jessica Forden; Siavash Radpour; Teresa Ghilarducci
  4. Access to Pensions, Old-Age Support, and Child Investment in the People’s Republic of China By Shan, Xiaoyue; Park, Albert
  5. What Has Driven the Labor Force Participation Gap since February 2020? By Mary Amiti; Sebastian Heise; Giorgio Topa; Julia Wu
  6. Reducing the Unequal Burden of Unpaid Eldercare Work By Jessica Forden; Siavash Radpour
  7. Asymmetric information, strategic transfers and the design of long-term care policies By Chiara Canta; Helmuth Cremer
  8. Testing for fragility: a valuable public policy and an opportunity for postal operators By Borsenberger, Claire; Cremer, Helmuth; Joram, Denis; Lozachmeur, Jean-Marie; Malavolti, Estelle
  9. Household wealth, neighbourhood deprivation and frailty amongst middle-aged and older adults in England: a longitudinal analysis over 15 years (2002-2017) By Maharani, Asri; Sinclair, David R.; Chandola, Tarani; Bower, Peter; Clegg, Andrew; Hanratty, Barbara; Nazroo, James; Pendleton, Neil; Tampubolon, Gindo; Todd, Chris; Wittenberg, Raphael; O'Neill, Terence W.; Matthews, Fiona E.
  10. Does extreme temperature exposure take a toll on mental health? Evidence from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study By Chen, Yanran; Sun, Ruochen; Chen, Xi; Qin, Xuezheng
  11. Longevity à la mode By Vázquez-Castillo, Paola; Bergeron-Boucher, Marie-Pier; Missov, Trifon I.
  12. A Review of Longevity Validations up to May 2023 By Gibbs, Philip; Zak, Nikolay

  1. By: Owen Davis; Siavash Radpour; Teresa Ghilarducci (Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA))
    Abstract: Social Security is the most essential and well-functioning part of the U.S. retirement system. Any reforms to federal retirement policy—while necessary and long overdue—must be built on the foundation of a protected and strengthened Social Security system. More than 60 percent of adults 65 and older receive most of their income from Social Security and all recipients benefit from the annuitized income the system provides. Despite calls to cut benefits and misleading claims about its finances, Social Security should be bolstered and expanded.
    Keywords: Social Security, low-income, Workers, Jobs, Unemployment, Risk, Older workers, retirement income, retirement, retirement savings
    JEL: E24 I14 J62 J38 E21 J83 J32
    Date: 2022–12
  2. By: Monique Morrissey; Siavash Radpour; Barbara Schuster (Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA))
    Abstract: The Older Workers and Retirement Chartbook shows the risks to retirement security and disparities in retirement preparedness, and explores the links between labor market challenges facing older workers and retirement insecurity.
    Keywords: older workers, recession, COVID-19, coronavirus, unemployment, involuntary retirement, retirement, Older Workers Bureau, disparities
    JEL: E24 J30 J38 J60 J88 J58
    Date: 2022–10
  3. By: Jessica Forden; Siavash Radpour; Teresa Ghilarducci (Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA))
    Abstract: Contrary to the hope that technology and machines have made work easier for most, more than 25 percent of older white workers and over 40 percent of older Black and Hispanic workers toil in physically demanding jobs. These realities have crucial implications for the retirement security of older workers. Physically demanding jobs make it more difficult for older workers to continue working at older ages as such jobs can be harsh on aging bodies and cause health problems. This puts older workers at risk of involuntarily exiting the labor force earlier than planned, creating significant financial hurdles to a secure retirement. For these reasons, though working longer may help mitigate today’s growing retirement insecurity, it is not a viable solution to the retirement crisis. As the share of older workers in the labor force increases in the next decade due to demographic changes, 1 policymakers should support higher quality jobs for older workers while also ensuring that those who are no longer able to work can retire with financial security.
    Keywords: older workers, unemployment, involuntary retirement, retirement, Older Workers Bureau, disparities
    JEL: E24 J30 J38 J60 J88 J58
    Date: 2022–11
  4. By: Shan, Xiaoyue (University of Pennsylvania); Park, Albert (Asian Development Bank)
    Abstract: This paper studies how access to public pensions affects old-age support and child investment in traditional societies. Guided by predictions from an overlapping generations model, we analyze the influences of a new pension program in rural People’s Republic of China, using a difference-in-differences approach. We find that the program crowds out transfers from working-age adults, especially men, to their elderly parents. Interestingly, the impact on child investment significantly differs by child gender. While adult parents increase educational investment in sons, their investment in daughters appears to decrease. Our findings highlight the unintended consequences of public pensions on parental investment.
    Keywords: altruism; pension; old-age support; rural PRC; intergenerational transfers
    JEL: D64 H55 J14 J16
    Date: 2023–05–12
  5. By: Mary Amiti; Sebastian Heise; Giorgio Topa; Julia Wu
    Abstract: The U.S. labor force participation rate (LFPR) currently stands at 62.5 percent, 0.8 percentage point below its level in February 2020. This “participation gap” translates into 2.1 million workers out of the labor force. In this post, we evaluate three potential drivers of the gap: First, population aging from the baby boomers reaching retirement age puts downward pressure on participation. Second, the share of individuals of retirement age that are actually retired has risen since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, long COVID and disability more generally may induce more people to leave the labor force. We find that nearly all of the participation gap can be explained by population aging, which caused a significant rise in the number of retirements. Higher retirement rates compared to pre-COVID have had only a modest effect, while disability has virtually no effect.
    Keywords: labor force participation; retirement; disability
    JEL: E2
    Date: 2023–03–30
  6. By: Jessica Forden; Siavash Radpour (Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA))
    Abstract: Unpaid care work — the vast majority of such work in the United States — is primarily shouldered by economically vulnerable people. The costs associated with unpaid care work compound existing economic insecurity, leading to higher rates of poverty in old age. It is essential to support informal caregivers by recognizing caregiving as work and expanding their access to social safety net programs and providing paid family care leave.
    Keywords: Eldercare, low-income, Workers, Jobs, Unemployment, Risk, Older workers, retirement income, retirement, retirement savings
    JEL: E24 I14 J62 J38 E21 J83 J32
    Date: 2023–05
  7. By: Chiara Canta (TBS - Toulouse Business School); Helmuth Cremer (TSE-R - Toulouse School of Economics - UT Capitole - Université Toulouse Capitole - UT - Université de Toulouse - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)
    Abstract: We study the optimal design of social long-term care (LTC) insurance when the utility of informal caregivers is taken into account. Informal care is exchange-based. Children's cost of providing care is continuously distributed over some interval and is not observable. Parents choose a rule specifying transfers conditional on the level of informal care. We study first uniform provision of LTC and then a nonlinear policy depending on family transfers. In both cases, informal care increases with the children's welfare weight. Our theoretical analysis is completed by calibrated numerical solutions. Uniform public care should represent up to 40% of total care but its share decreases to about 30% as the weight of children increases. In the nonlinear case, public care increases with the children's cost of providing care at a faster rate when children's weight in social welfare is higher. It represents 100% of total care for families with high-cost children.
    Keywords: Long-term care, Informal care, Strategic bequests, Asymmetric information.
    Date: 2023–01
  8. By: Borsenberger, Claire; Cremer, Helmuth; Joram, Denis; Lozachmeur, Jean-Marie; Malavolti, Estelle
    Abstract: Because of population aging, dependency represents a major societal challenge. While some of the issues including insurance design and the provision of Long-Term-Care have recently been studied and debated, the potential role of prevention has been mostly neglected. To fill this gap the World Health Organization advocates deploying throughout the territories a systematic approach to the prevention of loss of autonomy called ICOPE (Integrated Care for Older People). It involves several stages, starting with testing and screening individuals for their risk. These screening tests use simple tools and can be performed by persons who are not health professionals. But the deployment, management, evaluation of testing requires a large human infrastructure throughout the whole territory. The national postal operators through their ability to reach each citizen at home, thanks to their large human network and the bonds of trust forged over decades between the population and mail carriers, may provide a significant contribution to the screening stage. To study the economic foundations of this approach, we present a simple model, assuming that a certain proportion of the relevant age group is screened at some cost for their dependency risk. The individual risk is measured by an exogenous parameter, which along with the individual specific expenditures on prevention, determines their probability of dependence. Screening makes it possible to target prevention according to the individual risk. Prevention reduces the probability of dependence and its cost by reducing its severity or delaying its onset. The cost of dependence includes that of formal and informal care. We determine the optimal levels of expenditures on screening and prevention to maximize welfare subject to a budget constraint. The budget constraint requires that total (expected) expenditures on screening, prevention and on the care of dependent persons equal a given budget. Determining the optimal policy involves a tradeoff between screening and prevention on the one hand and caring for dependent individuals on the other hand. Our analysis provides a precise description of costs and benefits of testing and of providing preventive care. We present and discuss the conditions under which a universal testing program is desirable.
    Keywords: Long-term care, health expenditures, screening.
    JEL: I13 I18 H51
    Date: 2023–05–03
  9. By: Maharani, Asri; Sinclair, David R.; Chandola, Tarani; Bower, Peter; Clegg, Andrew; Hanratty, Barbara; Nazroo, James; Pendleton, Neil; Tampubolon, Gindo; Todd, Chris; Wittenberg, Raphael; O'Neill, Terence W.; Matthews, Fiona E.
    Abstract: BACKGROUND: frailty is a condition of reduced function and health due to ageing processes and is associated with a higher risk of falls, hospitalisation, disability and mortality. OBJECTIVE: to determine the relationship between household wealth and neighbourhood deprivation with frailty status, independently of demographic factors, educational attainment and health behaviours. DESIGN: population-based cohort study. SETTING: communities in England. SUBJECTS: in total 17, 438 adults aged 50+ from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. METHODS: multilevel mixed-effects ordered logistic regression was used in this study. Frailty was measured using a frailty index. We defined small geographic areas (neighbourhoods) using English Lower layer Super Output Areas. Neighbourhood deprivation was measured by the English Index of Multiple Deprivation, grouped into quintiles. Health behaviours included in this study are smoking and frequency of alcohol consumption. RESULTS: the proportion of respondents who were prefrail and frail were 33.8% [95% confidence interval (CI) 33.0-34.6%] and 11.7 (11.1-12.2)%, respectively. Participants in the lowest wealth quintile and living in the most deprived neighbourhood quintile had 1.3 (95% CI = 1.2-1.3) and 2.2 (95% CI = 2.1-2.4) times higher odds of being prefrail and frail, respectively, than the wealthiest participants living in the least deprived neighbourhoods Living in more deprived neighbourhood and poorer wealth was associated with an increased risk of becoming frail. Those inequalities did not change over time. CONCLUSIONS: in this population-based sample, living in a deprived area or having low wealth was associated with frailty in middle-aged and older adults. This relationship was independent of the effects of individual demographic characteristics and health behaviours.
    Keywords: English Longitudinal Study of Ageing; frailty; health inequalities; household wealth; neighbourhood deprivation; older people
    JEL: N0
    Date: 2023–03–29
  10. By: Chen, Yanran; Sun, Ruochen; Chen, Xi; Qin, Xuezheng
    Abstract: Long-term exposure to extreme temperatures could threaten individuals' mental health and psychological wellbeing. This study aims to investigate the long-term impact of cumulative exposure to extreme temperature. Differently from existing literature, we define extreme temperature exposure in relative terms based on local temperature patterns. Combining the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study and environmental data from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from 2011 to 2015, this study demonstrates that heat and cold exposure days in the past year significantly increase the measured depression level of adults over age 45 by 1.75 and 3.00 per cent, respectively, controlling for the city, year, and individual fixed effects. The effect is heterogeneous across three components of depression symptoms as well as age, gender, and areas of residency, and air conditioning and heating equipment are effective in alleviating the adverse impact of heat and cold exposure. The estimation is robust and consistent across a variety of temperature measurements and model modifications. Our findings provide evidence on the long-term and accumulative cost of extreme temperature to middle-aged and elderly human capital, contributing to the understanding of the social cost of climate change and the consequent health inequality.
    Keywords: mental health, climate change, extreme temperature, aging
    JEL: I12 I18 Q54
    Date: 2023
  11. By: Vázquez-Castillo, Paola; Bergeron-Boucher, Marie-Pier; Missov, Trifon I.
    Abstract: BACKGROUND The modal age at death (mode) is an important indicator of longevity, that is associated with different mortality regularities. Accurate estimates of the mode are essential, but existing methods are not always able to provide them. OBJECTIVE Our objective is to develop a method to estimate the modal age at death, using its mathematical properties, in an assumptions-free setting. METHODS The mode maximizes the density of the age-at-death distribution. In addition, at the mode, the rate of aging equals the force of mortality. Using these properties, we developed a discrete procedure to estimate the mode. We compare our estimates with those of other models. RESULTS Both the modal age at death and the rate of aging have been increasing since 1960 in low-mortality countries. The method we suggest produces close estimates to the ones generated by the P-splines smoothing. CONCLUSIONS The modal age at death plays a central role in estimating progress in longevity, quantifying mortality postponement, and estimating the rate of aging. The novel method proposed here allows for a simple and assumptions-free estimation of the modal age at death, which fulfills its mathematical properties and is not computationally demanding. CONTRIBUTION Our research was motivated by James W. Vaupel, who wanted to find a way to estimate the mode based on its mathematical properties as a part of one of his latest research grants. This article also expands on some of his last research papers that link the modal age at death for populations to the one for individuals.
    Date: 2023–04–27
  12. By: Gibbs, Philip; Zak, Nikolay
    Abstract: Background: The ages of the oldest humans are important data for scientific studies in gerontology, medicine and demographics. Scientists often reference specific cases such as Jeanne Calment, or resources such as the International Database on Longevity. However, numerous inherent dangers and pitfalls have dogged the history of human longevity record keeping. Many people who were believed to be the oldest person in their day turned out to be younger than claimed. This could affect scientific conclusions based on their assumed longevity. In this work we review longevity validations at the top of the official lists of the world’s oldest ever men and women. We aim to outline a stronger “cast-iron” standard for the purposes of future scientific studies of extreme longevity. Results: To inform the higher standard, we have examined individual cases of validation, including those that have been withdrawn or disputed. We highlight their weaknesses and show how deeper investigation could help validate similar claims in the future. We also consider the use of DNA testing to verify the identity of supercentenarians. A self-use questionnaire is offered to validators to help further improve consistency and completeness of their reporting. In a few cases, such as the lives of Sarah Knauss, Christian Mortensen and Israel Kristal we have found new evidence that improves confidence in their validation, but for others our search casts serious doubt on authenticity, or leaves questions over whether the standard of validation is good enough. Having previously disputed the longevity of Jeanne Calment, we now add Nabi Tajima from Japan and Johnson Parks from the U.S. to those who should be invalidated, and we question whether birth records for Japanese supercentenarians can be considered reliable. We also challenge the validation of several U.S cases which were based on unreliable census data in the SSA Kestenbaum study. Conclusions: Correct assessment of the chronological age is a necessary step for biologists studying the determinants of exceptional longevity. We hope that our findings could be used to improve the quality of age validations. They may also influence demographers' conclusions about the future of life expectancy
    Date: 2023–05–08

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