Refining Estimates of Marital Status Differences in Mortality at Older Ages

37 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2000 Last revised: 3 Jul 2010

See all articles by Sanders Korenman

Sanders Korenman

City University of New York (CUNY) - School of Public Affairs; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Noreen Goldman

Princeton University - Office of Population Research

Haishan Fu

University of Pennsylvania

Date Written: July 1995

Abstract

The main objective of this analysis is to demonstrate that some of the limitations that have characterized recent studies of the relationship between marital status and health outcomes may result in biased estimates of marital status differences in mortality among the elderly. A secondary goal is to evaluate the strength of evidence in support of the excess risks of mortality associated with widowhood, once we are able to eliminate or mitigate many of the limitations experienced by other studies. Our results, based on the 1984-1990 Longitudinal Study of Aging, demonstrate that the estimated marital status effects in logit and hazard models of survival are very sensitive to whether and how marital status information is updated after the baseline interview. Refined measures of marital status that capture prospectively transitions from the married to the widowhood state result in substantially increased estimates of the relative risk of dying in the early durations of widowhood (bereavement).

Suggested Citation

Korenman, Sanders and Goldman, Noreen and Fu, Haishan, Refining Estimates of Marital Status Differences in Mortality at Older Ages (July 1995). NBER Working Paper No. t0182, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=225092

Sanders Korenman (Contact Author)

City University of New York (CUNY) - School of Public Affairs ( email )

135 E 22nd St
New York, NY 10010
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Noreen Goldman

Princeton University - Office of Population Research ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544
United States

Haishan Fu

University of Pennsylvania

Population Studies Center
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

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