On the rise of health spending and longevity

We use a calibrated stochastic life-cycle model of endogenous healthspending, asset accumulation and retirement to investigate the causesbehind the increase in health spending and life expectancy over the period 1965-2005. We estimate that technological change along with the increase in the generosity of health insurance may explain independently 53% of the rise in health spending (insurance 29% and technology 24%) while income less than 10%. By simultaneously occurring over this period, these changes may have lead to a “synergy” or interaction effect which helps explain anadditional 37% increase in health spending. We estimate that technological change, taking the form of increased productivity at an annual rate of 1.8%, explains 59% of the rise in life expectancy at age 50 over this period while insurance and income explain less than 10%.

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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