Deaths in England and Wales are falling – Does the Austerity Theory Still Apply?

6 Pages Posted: 28 May 2019

See all articles by Rodney Jones

Rodney Jones

Healthcare Analysis & Forecasting

Date Written: May 2, 2019


An alarming rise in deaths since early 2012 has led to a deterioration of life expectancy in the UK and elsewhere in the world. In the UK several studies sought to implicate austerity as the cause of the increased deaths. However, these studies did not cite other studies which document behaviour of deaths inconsistent with the austerity theory. This short paper presents further evidence which is inconsistent with the austerity theory and poses the possibility that deaths are now falling back to levels expected to apply in the original actuarial forecasts. Possible reasons for the temporary blip in deaths are discussed. This paper uses the direct count of deaths to follow the trends rather than age standardized mortality, because complex trends in age-specific changes in deaths suggest that the process of age standardization may be acting to disguise the underlying causes for the trends.

Keywords: deaths, mortality, cohort effects, life insurance, austerity, actuarial forecasts, age standardization

JEL Classification: G22, I00, I10, I13, I18, Z18

Suggested Citation

Jones, Rodney, Deaths in England and Wales are falling – Does the Austerity Theory Still Apply? (May 2, 2019). Available at SSRN: or

Rodney Jones (Contact Author)

Healthcare Analysis & Forecasting ( email )

United Kingdom

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