van den Berg, Gerard J. Lindeboom, Maarten Portrait, France
Year of Publication:
Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper 07-009/3
We specify a model for the lifetimes of spouses and the dynamic evolution of health, allowing spousal death to have causal effects on the health and mortality of the survivor. We estimate the model using a longitudinal survey that traces many health status aspects over time, and that is linked to register data on the vital status of the individuals. The model takes account of selectivity in partners' mortality and health evolution. We find strong instantaneous effects of bereavement on mortality and on certain aspects of health. Individuals lose on average 12% of residual life expectancy after bereavement. Bereavement affects the share of healthy years in residual lifetime, primarily because healthy years are replaced by years with chronic diseases.
death longevity health care disease life expectancy elderly couples impairment