Volume 15 - Article 21 | Pages 561–590

Mortality tempo-adjustment: An empirical application

By Marc Luy

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Date received:27 Mar 2006
Date published:15 Dec 2006
Word count:6133
Keywords:Bongaarts-Feeney method, demographic period measures, life expectancy, mortality, mortality differences between West and East Germany, mortality tempo, tempo adjustment, tempo distortion, tempo effects


The number of scholars following the tempo approach in fertility continues to grow, whereas tempo-adjustment in mortality generally still is rejected. This rejection is irrational in principle, as the basic idea behind the tempo approach is independent of the kind of demographic event. Providing the first empirical application to a substantial problem, this paper shows that mortality tempo-adjustment can paint a different picture of current mortality conditions compared to conventional life expectancy.
An application of the Bongaarts and Feeney method to the analysis of mortality differences between western and eastern Germany shows that the eastern German disadvantages still are considerably higher and that the mortality gap between the two entities began to narrow some years later than trends in conventional life expectancy suggest. Thus, the picture drawn by tempo-adjusted life expectancy fits the expected trends of changing mortality and also the self-reported health conditions of eastern and western Germans better than that painted by conventional life expectancy.

Author's Affiliation

Marc Luy - Universität Rostock, Germany [Email]

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