NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Benjamin L. Serena

Department of Economics
University of Copenhagen and CEBI
Øster Farimagsgade 5, Building 35
DK-1353 Copenhagen K
Denmark

E-Mail: Benjamin.Ly.Serena@econ.ku.dk
Institutional Affiliation: University of Copenhagen

NBER Working Papers and Publications

July 2020Linking Changes in Inequality in Life Expectancy and Mortality: Evidence from Denmark and the United States
with Gordon Dahl, Claus Thustrup Kreiner, Torben Heien Nielsen: w27509
We decompose changing gaps in life expectancy between rich and poor into differential changes in age-specific mortality rates and differences in “survivability”. Declining age-specific mortality rates increases life expectancy, but the gain is small if the likelihood of living to this age is small (ex ante survivability) or if the expected remaining lifetime is short (ex post survivability). Lower survivability of the poor explains half of the recent rise in life expectancy inequality in the US and the entire rise in Denmark. Cardiovascular mortality declines favored the poor, but differences in lifestyle-related survivability led inequality to rise.
 
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