We analyze human aging, understood as health deficit accumulation, for a panel of European individuals. For that purpose, we use four waves of the Survey of Health, Aging and Retirement in Europe (SHARE dataset) and construct a health deficit index. Results from log-linear regressions suggest that, on average, elderly European men and women develop about 2.5 percent more health deficits from one birthday to the next. In non-linear regression (akin to the Gompertz-Makeham model), however, we find much greater rates of aging and large differences between men and women as well as between countries. Interestingly, these differences follow a particular regularity (akin to the compensation effect of mortality). They suggest an age at which average health deficits converge for men and women and across countries.
health aging health deficit index Europe gender differences compensation law human life span