Schünemann, Johannes Strulik, Holger Trimborn, Timo
Year of Publication:
Beiträge zur Jahrestagung des Vereins für Socialpolitik 2016: Demographischer Wandel - Session: Newborns, Mortality and Longevity F09-V1
Unhealthy persons adapt to their bad state of health and persons in bad health are usually happier than estimated by healthy persons. In this paper we investigate how adaptation to a deteriorating state of health affects health spending, life expectancy, and the value of life. We set up a life cycle model in which individuals are subject to physiological aging, calibrate it with data from gerontology, and compare behavior and outcomes of adapting and non-adapting individuals. While adaptation generally increases the life-time utility (by about 2 percent), its impact on health behavior and longevity depends crucially on whether individuals are aware of their adaptive behavior, i.e. whether they adapt in a naive or sophisticated way. We also compute the QALY change implied by health shocks and discuss whether and how adaptation influences results and the desireability of positive health innovations.