Chapter

New Age Thinking: Alternative Ways of Measuring Age, Their Relationship to Labor Force Participation, Government Policies, and GDP

John B. Shoven

in Research Findings in the Economics of Aging

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780226903064
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226903088 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226903088.003.0002
New Age Thinking: Alternative Ways of Measuring Age, Their Relationship to Labor Force Participation, Government Policies, and GDP

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This chapter deals with several innovative approaches to thinking about age. The traditional measure of age is a measure of years-since-birth. The chapter suggests that for some purposes, age measures that are more closely associated with health and longevity might be more appropriate. For example, a simple alternative to years since birth would be a measure of age based on mortality risk. Groups whose mortality risk is high would be considered old, those with low mortality risk would be classified as young and those with the same mortality risk would be considered the same age. Another approach would be to measure age from the other end of life, based on remaining life expectancy (RLE). Those with a short RLE would be considered elderly and those with a long RLE would be considered young. One advantage of the RLE approach over the mortality risk approach is that it is measured in years, units that are widely understood.

Keywords: age; labor force; mortality; life expectancy

Chapter.  7008 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economics

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