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Journal Article

Eliciting survival expectations of the elderly in low-income countries: evidence from India


Publication date

Apr 2017


We examine several methodological considerations when eliciting probabilistic expectations in a developing country context using the Longitudinal Ageing Survey of India (LASI). We conclude that although on average individuals are able to understand the concept of probability, responses are sensitive to framing effects and own versus hypothetical person effects. We also find that overall people are pessimistic about their survival probabilities as compared to state-specific life tables and that socio economic status does influence beliefs about own survival expectations as found in previous literature in other countries. Higher levels of education and income have a positive association with survival expectations and these associations persist even when conditioning on self-reported health. The results remain robust to several alternative specifications. We then compare the survival measures to objective measures of health. We find that activity of daily life, height and low haemoglobin levels co-vary with subjective expectations in expected directions.

Published in


Volume and page numbers

54 , 673 -699





Older People, Demography, Health, and Social Stratification


© The Author(s) 2017; Open Access; This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.


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