Differential survival in Europe and the United States: estimates based on subjective probabilities of survival
Cross-country comparisons of differential survival by socioeconomicstatus (SES) are useful in many domains. Yet, to date, such studies have beenrare. Reliably estimating differential survival in a single country has beenchallenging because it requires rich panel data with a large sample size. Crosscountryestimates have proven even more difficult because the measures of SESneed to be comparable internationally. We present an alternative method foracquiring information on differential survival by SES. Rather than usingobservations of actual survival, we relate individuals’ subjective probabilities ofsurvival to SES variables in cross section. To show that subjective survivalprobabilities are informative proxies for actual survival when estimatingdifferential survival, we compare estimates of differential survival based onactual survival with estimates based on subjective probabilities of survival for thesame sample. The results are remarkably similar. We then use this approach tocompare differential survival by SES for 10 European countries and the UnitedStates. Wealthier people have higher survival probabilities than those who areless wealthy, but the strength of the association differs across countries. Nationswith a smaller gradient appear to be Belgium, France, and Italy, while the UnitedStates, England, and Sweden appear to have a larger gradient.
Volume and page numbers
48 , 1377 -1400
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