Individuals’ survival expectations and actual mortality

Using a combination of Dutch survey and administrative data, we show that survival expectations do in fact predict actual mortality in models that control for income and education level. This predictive power disappears, however, when controls are introduced for self-ratedhealth status and smoking behavior. Concerning the differences between survival expectations and actual mortality, our results show that, on average, women underestimate their remaining lifeduration more than men and that the age gradient is steeper in subjective than in actual mortality.The association of current health status with subjective survival is less strong than with objective survival and, moreover, individuals underestimate the risks from smoking, alcohol consumption, and obesity.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.


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