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Kolner Z Soz Sozpsychol. 2015;67(Suppl 1):271-294.

Impact of Economic Conditions and Crises on Mortality and its Predictability.

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University of Rostock, Ulmenstrasse 69, 18057 Rostock, Germany.


in English, German

To investigate how economic conditions and crises affect mortality and its predictability in industrialized countries, we review the related literature, and we forecast mortality developments in Spain, Hungary, and Russia-three countries which have recently undergone major transformation processes following the introduction of radical economic and political reforms. The results of our retrospective mortality forecasts from 1991 to 2009 suggest that our model can capture major changes in long-term mortality trends, and that the forecast errors it generates are usually smaller than those of other well-accepted models, like the Lee-Carter model and its coherent variant. This is because our approach is capable of modeling (1) dynamic shifts in survival improvements from younger to older ages over time, as well as (2) substantial changes in long-term trends by optionally complementing the extrapolated mortality trends in a country of interest with those of selected reference countries. However, the forecasting performance of our model is limited (like that of every model): e.g., if mortality becomes extremely volatile-as was the case in Russia after the dissolution of the Soviet Union-generating a precise forecast will depend more on luck than on methodology and expert judgment. In general, we conclude that, on their own, recent economic changes appear to have minor effects on life expectancy in industrialized countries, but that the effects of these changes are greater if they occur in conjunction with other major social and political changes.


Crisis; Economic conditions; Hungary; Life expectancy; Projections; Russia; Spain

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