What Makes Social Mortality Differences Decline in Old Age?
Title: What Makes Social Mortality Differences Decline in Old Age?
Author: HOFFMANN, Rasmus
Series/Number: EUI MWP; 2009/17
Abstract:In many empirical studies mortality differences between socioeconomic groups (SES) decrease in the higher age groups. However, the mechanism behind this convergence is unknown. This study presents empirical evidence and possible explanations. Danish register data of all men in Denmark above age 58 between 1980 and 2002 (n=938.427) and event history analysis is used to study mortality differences between income groups, controlled for eight other variables. Interaction models with age or health status are used to describe the change of SES mortality differences with age. Mortality differences in Denmark are very large. The upper 75 percent of the income distribution have very similar mortality levels, but have approximately only 35 percent of the mortality risk of the poorest 10 percent. Mortality differentials are stable across age groups (controlled for health) but they converge completely when health is deteriorating. This study shows that instead of “age as leveler” it is “illness as leveler”. The finding that SES only has a very small impact on the transition from poor health to death shows that SES mortality differences do not exist because ill people with low SES have poor access to intensive or expensive medical care. It rather suggests that SES differences in mortality originate in the period of prevention and early treatment. This is also the period where policy measures against health inequality are most promising.The fulltext (PDF) was removed on 28.07.2009 and re-uploaded on 30.01.2015.
Subject: mortality; health; old age; income; socioeconomic status; SES; age as leveler; Denmark; register data; longitudinal analysis; event history analysis
Type of Access: openAccess