Volume 29 - Article 45 | Pages 1261–1298  

Lifetime income and old age mortality risk in Italy over two decades

By Michele Belloni, Rob Alessie, Adriaan Kalwij, Chiara Marinacci


Background: The evidence on the shape and trend of the relationship between (lifetime) income and old age mortality is scarce and mixed both for North American and European countries. Nationwide evidence for Italy does not exist yet.

Objective: We investigate the shape and evolution of the association between lifetime income and old age mortality risk, referred to as the income-old age mortality gradient, for males in the 1980s and the 1990s.

Methods: We use data drawn from an administrative pension archive and proxy individual lifetime income with pension income. We use non-standard Cox proportional hazard models, in which the positions and number of the knots in the spline function for income are determined by the data.

Results: The income-old age mortality gradient is negative but weak across most of the income distribution. Ist shape shows two kink points situated almost at the same percentiles of the income distribution during the 1980s and the 1990s. The widening of the gradient over time is largely explained by regional differences in mortality and income.

Conclusions: Our findings show that mortality risk decreases with income. Once regional differences are controlled for, the relative difference in mortality risk between high and low-income individuals in Italy is rather stable over time.

Author's Affiliation

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

Is the accuracy of individuals' survival beliefs associated with their knowledge of population life expectancy?
Volume 45 - Article 14

An empirical analysis of the importance of controlling for unobserved heterogeneity when estimating the income-mortality gradient
Volume 31 - Article 30

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

International completeness of death registration
Volume 50 - Article 38    | Keywords: data collection, death, mortality, statistics, sustainable development goals, vital registration

The effect of migration and time spent abroad on migrants’ health: A home/host country perspective
Volume 50 - Article 37    | Keywords: Albania, health, Italy, migrants, propensity score

Incorporating subjective survival information in mortality and change in health status predictions: A Bayesian approach
Volume 50 - Article 36    | Keywords: Bayesian demography, health, mortality, self report, subjective mortality probabilities

Standardized mean age at death (MADstd): Exploring its potentials as a measure of human longevity
Volume 50 - Article 30    | Keywords: formal demography, life expectancy, mean age at death, mortality, standardization

Differences in mortality before retirement: The role of living arrangements and marital status in Denmark
Volume 50 - Article 20    | Keywords: inequalities, living arrangements, marital status, mortality, retirement