Conjugal Bereavement Effects on Health and Mortality at Advanced Ages

IZA Discussion Paper No. 2358

Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper No. 2007-009/3

48 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2006

See all articles by Gerard J. van den Berg

Gerard J. van den Berg

VU University Amsterdam - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Tinbergen Institute

Maarten Lindeboom

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam; Tinbergen Institute Amsterdam; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

France Portrait

VU University Amsterdam - Department of Economics

Date Written: October 2006

Abstract

We specify a model for the lifetimes of spouses and the dynamic evolution of health, allowing spousal death to have causal effects on the health and mortality of the survivor. We estimate the model using a longitudinal survey that traces many health status aspects over time, and that is linked to register data on the vital status of the individuals. The model takes account of selectivity in partners' mortality and health evolution. We find strong instantaneous effects of bereavement on mortality and on certain aspects of health. Individuals lose on average 12% of residual life expectancy after bereavement. Bereavement affects the share of healthy years in residual lifetime, primarily because healthy years are replaced by years with chronic diseases.

Keywords: death, longevity, health care, disease, life expectancy, elderly couples, impairment

JEL Classification: I12, I11, J14, J12, C41

Suggested Citation

van den Berg, Gerard J. and Lindeboom, Maarten and Portrait, France, Conjugal Bereavement Effects on Health and Mortality at Advanced Ages (October 2006). IZA Discussion Paper No. 2358; Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper No. 2007-009/3. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=939003

Gerard J. Van den Berg (Contact Author)

VU University Amsterdam - Department of Economics ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam
Netherlands
+31 20 444 6132 (Phone)
+32 20 444 6020 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Tinbergen Institute

Burg. Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, 3062 PA
Netherlands

Maarten Lindeboom

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam
Netherlands
+31 20 444 6033 (Phone)
+31 20 444 6020 (Fax)

Tinbergen Institute Amsterdam

Gustav Mahlerplein 117
Amsterdam, 1082 MS
Netherlands

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

France Portrait

VU University Amsterdam - Department of Economics ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam
Netherlands
+31 20 444 6155 (Phone)

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