The Transmission of Longevity Across Generations
Posted: 28 Sep 2008 Last revised: 28 Oct 2008
Date Written: September 27, 2008
This paper studies the relationship between a father's age at death and his children's expected lifetime using a large and representative data set of individuals in Israel. We find that, after the early thirties for women and early forties for men, the survivor probability of an individual is significantly affected by the age at which her or his father died. The estimates imply that the difference in expected lifetime when the father dies at age 80 instead of at age 40 amounts to about 14 years for women and 9 years for men. We explore the extent to which the estimated effects can be interpreted as due to genetic factors. Under additional assumptions, we find that genetic factors explain less than 10 percent of the variance in longevity across individuals.
Keywords: longevity, nature vs nurture
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation