Volume 17 - Article 4 | Pages 83-108

Differential mortality by lifetime earnings in Germany

By Hans-Martin von Gaudecker, Rembrandt D. Scholz

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Date received:24 Jul 2006
Date published:17 Aug 2007
Word count:7481
Keywords:comparison East and West Germany, lifetime earnings measure, mortality and socio-economic status


e estimate mortality rates by a measure of socio-economic status in a very large sample of male German pensioners aged~65 or older. Our analysis is entirely nonparametric. Furthermore, the data enable us to compare mortality experiences in eastern and western Germany conditional on socio-economic status. As a simple summary measure, we compute period life expectancies at age~65. Our findings show a lower bound of almost 50 percent (six years) on the difference in life expectancy between the lowest and the highest socio-economic group considered. Within groups, we find similar values for the former GDR and western Germany. Our analysis contributes to the literature in three aspects. First, we provide the first population-based differential mortality study for Germany. Second, we use a novel measure of lifetime earnings as a proxy for socio-economic status that remains applicable to retired people. Third, the comparison between eastern and western Germany may provide some interesting insights for transformation countries.

Author's Affiliation

Hans-Martin von Gaudecker - Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands [Email]
Rembrandt D. Scholz - Rostocker Zentrum zur Erforschung des Demografischen Wandels, Germany [Email]

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

» Official population statistics and the Human Mortality Database estimates of populations aged 80+ in Germany and nine other European countries
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» Progress in health care, progress in health?: Patterns of amenable mortality in Central and Eastern Europe before and after political transition
Special Collection 2 - Article 6