Health, Longevity, and Welfare Inequality of Older Americans
80 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2021
Date Written: April 5, 2021
We estimate the distribution of well-being among the older U.S. population using an expected utility framework that incorporates differences in consumption, leisure, health, and mortality. We find large disparities in welfare that have increased over time. Incorporating the cost of living with poor health into elderly welfare substantially increases the overall inequality. Disparity measures based on cross-sectional income or consumption underestimate the growth in aggregate welfare inequality. Moreover, health is a better indicator of an individual’s relative welfare position than income or consumption.
Keywords: welfare, inequality, older Americans, elderly, health, morbidity, aging, mortality
JEL Classification: D63, I14, I31, J14
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