Factors Driving Aggregate Mortality Rates in Postwar Germany
Zeitschrift für die gesamte Versicherungswissenschaft, Vol. 99, No. 2, pp. 211–229, 2010
27 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2009 Last revised: 11 Jan 2012
Date Written: January 10, 2012
Using German data over the period 1956-2006, this study provides a comprehensive empirical analysis of factors driving aggregate mortality rates over time. It differs from previous contributions in this field by simultaneously considering an extensive set of macroeconomic, socioeconomic, and ecological factors as explanatory variables. Our regression analysis shows that sex- and age-specific mortality rates vary substantially in their response to external factors. Strongest associations are found with changes in real GDP, flu epidemics, and the two lifestyle variables - alcohol and cigarette consumption - in both univariate and multivariate setups. Further analysis indicates that these effects are primarily contemporary, whereas other indicators, such as weather conditions, exert lagged effects. We derive optimal multivariate models for every age group that capture a substantial fraction of the observed variation in annual mortality change, and thereby confirm the relevance of the identified factors.
Keywords: Aggregate mortality, business cycle, socio-economic factors, multivariate model
JEL Classification: C32, I12, J11
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation