Type of Publication: Article in Journal

Individualised Life Tables: Investigating Dynamics of Health, Work and Cohabitation in the UK

Martin Karlsson, Les Mayhew and Ben Rickayzen
Title of Journal:
The Journal of Population Ageing
Volume (Publication Date):
1 (2009)
Number of Issue:
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
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A life table is a table which shows, at each age, the probability that a person in a given population will die before their next birthday. It can be used to calculate life expectancy and healthy life expectancy for people of different ages. In this work, using longitudinal datasets and panel data methods, we produce life tables for different subgroups of the population, defined according to cohabitation status, employment and other factors. As a first step, we estimate the dynamics of factors which are of particular importance in people’s lives: health, labour market participation, cohabitation and mortality. The significance of these variables is twofold: they determine the well-being of individuals, but the variables also determine the resources available to the individuals in times of ill health. Using the British Household Panel Survey, we analyse the extent to which these variables are influenced by one another, and by exogenous factors such as education and ethnicity. Estimating a system of probit models using simulation techniques, we are able to distinguish the effects of the exogenous and endogenous variables from state dependence and unobserved heterogeneity. We also correct for attrition and the initial conditions problem. We estimate time trends in mortality, health and other dependent variables to investigate whether a compression of morbidity has occurred in the recent past. Finally, the parameter estimates are used to simulate life tables for various sub-groups in the population and compare measures of life expectancy and healthy life expectancy for different groups.