The American Way of Aging: an Event History Analysis

52 Pages Posted: 5 Jul 2004 Last revised: 28 Nov 2021

See all articles by David T. Ellwood

David T. Ellwood

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Thomas J. Kane

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Public Policy & Social Research; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: March 1989

Abstract

The paper presents a methodology for studying the sequence and timing of life events past age 65. After estimating models of marital status, disability, living arrangements and income from the scattered segments of old age captured within the 17 year window of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), we simulated up to 35 years of old age, using a sample of those turning 65 between 1980 and 1984" The simulated life expectancies correspond quite well with life-table estimates published by the National Center for Health Statistics. Even in this initial effort, we report some interesting findings: First, the prospects for rich and poor at age 65 were very different, those with high incomes living 4 years longer than those with low incomes. Second, women who were ever institutionalized were hardly identifiable at age 65, having similar income, marital status and disability status as other women at age 65. Third, women are much more vulnerable to changes in marital status, suffering a permanent 20% decline in their standard of living upon widowhood compared to a 10% decline for men. Fourth, poor widows at age 80 were likely to have been widows or poor already when they turned 65.

Suggested Citation

Ellwood, David T. and Kane, Thomas J., The American Way of Aging: an Event History Analysis (March 1989). NBER Working Paper No. w2892, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=459413

David T. Ellwood (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

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Thomas J. Kane

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Public Policy & Social Research ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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