Current Awareness in Aging Research (CAAR) Report #111--November 21, 2001


CAAR (Current Awareness in Aging Research) is a weekly email report produced by the Center for Demography of Health and Aging at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that helps researchers keep up to date with the latest developments in the field. For more information, including an archive of back issues and subscription information see:


I. Data:

1. ICPSR: On November 14 and 16, the Inter-University Consortium for Social and Political Research at the University of Michigan released 8 new studies. Of possible interest to researchers in aging is:

MINORITY AGING AND HEALTH (#3297) Note: See the Readme file for this CD-ROM for further information.

Note: This is a temporary address. ICPSR studies can always be found at:

Search on title or study number.

II. Reports and articles:

2. GAO REPORT: "Older Workers: Demographic Trends Pose Challenges for Employers and Workers," (US General Accounting Office GAO-02-85, November 16, 2001, .pdf format, 46p.).

Note: This is a temporary address. GAO reports can always be found at:

Search on title or report number.


A. "Revision of ESRD Payment Rates for ESRD Patients Enrolled in M+C Plans," (US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, HTML format, 2001).

B. "Medicare Fee-For-Service Provider/Supplier Enrollment," (US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, .pdf format, 2001). Note: "CMS provides access to five forms. The forms are in .pdf format and can be downloaded by providers." Please note that after 12/31/01 CMS will no longer accept 1/98 versions of Form HCFA 855. Click on "Provider/Supplier List" for assistance determining what application form to use.

4. DHHS OIG OIE REPORT: "Medical Equipment and Supply Claims with Invalid or Inactive Physician Numbers," (US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, Office of Evaluation and Inspections OEI-03-01-00110, November 2001, .pdf format, 13p.).


This study found that Medicare paid $32 million for medical equipment and supply claims with invalid unique physician identification numbers (UPINs) in 1999. In addition, we found that Medicare allowed $59 million in 1999 for medical equipment and supply claims with UPINs that were inactive on the date of service. We also found that a small number of suppliers accounted for significant share of allowed charges for claims with invalid or inactive UPINs. We recommended that CMS revise claims processing edits to ensure that UNIPs listed on medical equipment and supply claims are valid and active. We also recommended that CMS emphasize to suppliers the importance of using accurate UPINs when submitting claims to Medicare. The CMS agreed.

5. _PNAS_ ARTICLE ABSTRACT: Note: Electronic full-text (HTML and .pdf) may be available. Check with your organization's library.

A. "Alzheimer's -secretase, -site amyloid precursor protein-cleaving enzyme, is responsible for cleavage secretion of a Golgi-resident sialyltransferase," by Shinobu Kitazume, Yuriko Tachida, Ritsuko Oka, Keiro Shirotani, Takaomi C. Saido, and Yasuhiro Hashimoto (_Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences_, Vol. 98, No. 24, November 20, 2001, .pdf and HTML format, p. 13554-13559).

B. "Up-regulation of TNF-producing T cells in the bone marrow: A key mechanism by which estrogen deficiency induces bone loss in vivo," by Cristiana Roggia, Yuhao Gao, Simone Cenci, M. Neale Weitzmann, Gianluca Toraldo, Giancarlo Isaia, and Roberto Pacifici (_Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences_, Vol. 98, No. 24, November 20, 2001, .pdf and HTML format, p. 13960-13965).

6. _LANCET_ ARTICLE ABSTRACT: Note: _Lancet_ requires free registration before providing content.

"Assessment of frequency of progression to hypertension in non-hypertensive participants in the Framingham Heart Study: a cohort study," by Ramachandran S. Vasan, Martin G. Larson, Eric P. Leip, William B. Kannel, and Daniel Levy (_The Lancet_, Vol. 358, No. 9294, November 17, 2001, .pdf and HTML format, p. 1682-1686).


A. "Accuracy of a single question in screening for depression in a cohort of patients after stroke: comparative study," by Caroline Watkins, Leanne Daniels, Cathy Jack, Hazel Dickinson, and Martin van den Broek (_British Medical Journal_, Paper, Vol. 323, No. 7322, November 17, 2001, .pdf and HTML format, p. 1159).

B. "Should elderly patients be told they have cancer? Questionnaire survey of older people," by A. Ajaj, M. P. Singh, and A. J. J. Abdulla (_British Medical Journal_, Paper, Vol. 323, No. 7322, November 17, 2001, .pdf and HTML format, p. 1160).

C. "Participation of patients in decisions about treatment for cancer," by Lesley Fallowfield (_British Medical Journal_, Editorial, Vol. 323, No. 7322, November 17, 2001, .pdf and HTML format, p. 1144).

8. _JAMA_ ARTICLE ABSTRACT AND FROM THE ARCHIVES JOURNAL: Note: Electronic full-text of this article may be available. Check with your organization's library.

A. "Predicting Mortality in Nursing Home Residents with Lower Respiratory Tract Infection: The Missouri LRI Study," by David R. Mehr, Ellen F. Binder, Robin L. Kruse, Steven C. Zweig, Richard Madsen, Lori Popejoy, and Ralph B. D'Agostino (Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 286, No. 19, November 21, 2001, .pdf and HTML format, p. 2427-2436).

B. "Antioxidants and Zinc to Prevent Progression of Age-Related Macular Degeneration," by Lee M. Jampol and Frederick L. Ferris III (Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 286, No. 19, November 21, 2001, .pdf and HTML format, p. 2466-2468).

9. _MEDSCAPE_ ARTICLES: Note: Medscape requires free registration before providing articles.

"Tamoxifen is Not Detrimental to Endothelial Function in Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer," by Paul J. L. Ong, Helena Linardou, Helen A. Graham, Philip Savage, Christopher S. Hayward, R. Charles Coombes, and Peter Collins (_American Heart Journal via Medscape_, Vol. 142, No. 4, October 2001).


"Desperate Times: Labor Shortages in New York's Continuing Care System" (NYAHSA Public Policy Series, November 2001, .pdf format, 11p.).

Click on the report title in the body of the news release (or at the end) to link to the full-text report.

11. URBAN INSTITUTE: "The Potential Effects of Cash Balance Plans on the Distribution of Pension Wealth at Midlife," by Richard W. Johnson and Cori E. Uccello (Urban Institute, HTML and .pdf format, August 2001, 36p.).


Recent pension plan conversions by numerous large employers have sparked debate about the merits of cash balance plans. This paper compares pension wealth in traditional defined benefit (DB) plans and cash balance plans for a nationally representative sample of Americans ages 51 to 61 with pension coverage. Data for our analysis are from the Health and Retirement Study, which includes detailed information for about 800 DB plans.

The simulations indicate that replacing DB plans with cash balance plans would redistribute pension wealth from those who held long-term jobs for many years to those with a series of short-term jobs. Because long-term workers have high levels of DB pension wealth, replacing DB plans with cash balance plans would benefit individuals with limited DB wealth. Four-fifths of those in the bottom quartile of the DB wealth distribution would fare better in cash balance plans than DB plans, while 61 percent of those in the top DB wealth quartile would fare worse. Many women in their fifties in 1992 with DB coverage would have lost pension wealth if they had instead participated in cash balance plans throughout their working lives, because relatively few women had accumulated pension wealth on past jobs. However, cash balance plans may be more advantageous for later cohorts of women, as employment and earnings patterns for men and women continue to converge.

Click on "PDF format" to view the electronic full-text.

12. _US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT_ ARTICLE: "Finding lost minds," by Susan Brink (_US News and World Report_, November 26, 2001).

III. Working Papers:

13. NBER: Note: Click on "PDF" or submit your email address at the bottom of the abstract for full text.

A. "The Transition to Personal Accounts and Increasing Retirement Wealth: Macro and Micro Evidence," by James M. Poterba, Steven F. Venti, and David A. Wise (National Bureau of Economic Research W8610, November 2001, .pdf format, 94p.).


Retirement saving has changed dramatically over the last two decades. There has been a shift from employer-managed defined benefit pensions to defined contribution retirement saving plans that are largely controlled by employees. In 1980, 92 percent of private retirement saving contributions were to employer-based plans and 64 percent of these contributions were to defined benefit plans. Today, about 85 percent of private contributions are to plans in which individuals decide how much to contribute to the plan, how to invest plan assets and how and when to withdraw money from the plan. In this paper we use both macro and micro data to describe the change in retirement assets and in retirement saving. We give particular attention to the possible substitution of pension assets in one plan for assets in another plan such as the substitution of 401(k) assets for defined benefit plan assets. Aggregate data show that between 1975 and 1999 assets to support retirement increased about five-fold relative to wage and salary income. This increase suggests large increases in the wealth of future retirees. The enormous increase in defined contribution plan assets dwarfed any potential displacement of defined benefit plan assets. In addition, in recent years the annual 'retirement plan contribution rate,' defined as retirement plan contributions as a percentage of NIPA personal income, has been over 5 percent. This is much higher than the NIPA total personal saving rate, which has been close to zero. Retirement saving as a share of personal income today would likely be at least one percentage point greater had it not been for legislation in the 1980s that limited employer contributions to defined benefit pension plans, and the reduction in defined benefit plan contributions associated with the rising stock market of the 1990s. It is also likely that the 'retirement plan contribution rate' would be much higher today if it were not for the 1986 retrenchment of the IRA program.

B. "Aging and Housing Equity: Another Look," by Steven F. Venti and David A. Wise (National Bureau of Economic Research W8608, November 2001, .pdf format, 78p.).


Aside from Social Security and, for some, employer-provided pensions, housing equity is the principle asset of a large fraction of older Americans. Many retired persons have essentially no financial assets to support retirement consumption. We use data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), the Asset and Health Dynamics Among the Oldest Old (AHEAD), and the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) to understand the extent to which families use housing equity to support general consumption in retirement. The initial analysis is based on self-assessed home values reported by survey respondents. Because the self-assessments exaggerate actual home equity, much of the subsequent analysis is based on the selling price of recently sold homes, together with the reported equity in recently purchased homes. Homeowners can change home equity by either discontinuing ownership or by purchasing another home of lesser or greater value. We find that in the absence of a precipitating shock--death of a spouse or entry of a family member into a nursing home- -families are unlikely to discontinue home ownership. And even when there is a precipitating shock, discontinuing ownership is the exception rather than the rule. On average, families that move and purchase a new home tend to increase home equity. We find, however, that income-poor and house-rich families are more likely to reduce equity when they move, while house-poor and income-rich households are more likely to increase housing equity. Overall, accounting for discontinuing ownership and moving to another home, housing equity increases with age until about age 75 and then declines slightly as households grow older. The overall decline among older households (surveyed in the AHEAD) is about 1.76 percent per year, and this decline is largely accounted for by a 7.84 percent decline among households who experience a precipitating shock. Families that remain intact reduce housing equity very little, about 0.11 percent per year for two-person households and 1.15 percent per year for one- person households. We conclude that, on average, home equity is not liquidated to support general non-housing consumption needs as households age.

C. "Potential Paths of Social Security Reform," by Martin Feldstein and Andrew Samwick (National Bureau of Economic Research W8592, November 2001, .pdf format, 53p.).


This paper presents several alternative Social Security reform options in which the projected level of benefits for every future cohort of retirees is as high or higher than the benefits projected in current law. These future benefits can be achieved without any increase in the payroll tax or in other tax rates. Under each option, the Social Security Trust Fund is solvent and ends with a sustainable positive and growing balance. Each option combines the current pay-as-you-go system of defined benefits with an investment-based personal retirement account (PRA). Assets in the PRA can be bequeathed if the individual dies before normal retirement age. We also consider the option in which an individual can take all or part of his accumulated PRA balanced as a lump sum at normal retirement age. The basic plan that we present in greatest detail combines a transfer to the personal retirement account of a portion of the individual's payroll tax equal to 1.5 percent of earnings if the individual agrees to deposit an equal out-of-pocket amount. The additional national saving that results from this option leads to increased business investment and therefore to increased general tax revenue; a portion of that revenue, equal to 1 percent of the PRA balances, is transferred to the Social Security Trust Fund. The other options that we present include plans with no out-of-pocket contributions by individuals and others with no transfer of general revenue to the Trust Fund. We also discuss the implications of different rates of return on the PRA balances and, more generally, the issue of risk, including a market-based method of guaranteeing the real principal of all PRA deposits.

D. "The Effect of Health on Economic Growth: Theory and Evidence," by David E. Bloom, David Canning, and Jaypee Sevilla (National Bureau of Economic Research W8587, November 2001, .pdf format, 26p.).


Macroeconomists acknowledge the contribution of human capital to economic growth, but their empirical studies define human capital solely in terms of schooling. In this paper, we extend production function models of economic growth to account for two additional variables that microeconomists have identified as fundamental components of human capital: work experience and health. Our main result is that good health has a positive, sizable, and statistically significant effect on aggregate output. We find little variation across countries in average work experience, thus differentials in work experience account for little variation in rates of economic growth. Finally, we find that the effects of average schooling on national output are consistent with microeconomic estimates of the effects of individual schooling on earnings, suggesting that education creates no discernible externalities.

E. "Are the Japanese Selfish, Altruistic, or Dynastic?" by Charles Yuji Horioka (National Bureau of Economic Research W8577, November 2001, .pdf format, 55p.).


In this paper, I analyze a variety of evidence for Japan and, where available, for the United States on bequest practices, on the importance and nature of bequest motives, on bequest division, on the willingness of individuals to help others, etc., in order to shed light on which model of household behavior applies in the two countries. My results suggest that the selfish life cycle model is the dominant model of household behavior in both countries but that it is far more applicable in Japan than it is in the U.S., that the dynasty model is also more applicable in Japan than it is in the U.S. but that it is not of dominant importance even in Japan, and conversely, that the altruism model is far more applicable in the U.S. than it is in Japan.

14. EUROPEAN ECONOMY GROUP (UNIVERSITY OF MADRID): "Occupational Pensions and Job Mobility in the European Union," by Vincenzo Andrietti (Eurpoean Economy Group Working Paper No. 10, .pdf format, October 2001, 48p.).


Although the issue of portability of occupational pension rights has been high on the European Union (EU) policy agenda in the last two decades, no comparative studies have been produced to support the policy debate with empirical evidence. Using data from the European Community Household Panel survey we estimate the role of occupational pensions on individual job mobility choices for a sample of EU Member States - Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom - where occupational pensions play a major role in the provision of retirement income. We model individual job mobility choices as driven by ex-ante evaluation of the expected benefits and costs from mobility. The latters include potential pension portability losses arising to workers covered by defined benefit plans. Within a switching regression econometric framework we control for potential selection bias due to unobservables simultaneously affecting prospective wages and job mobility choices. This allows us to predict counterfactual (unobserved) wages for both movers and stayers and to identify the expected wage differential as well as the mobility cost parameters in a structural probit equation. We find that, among the countries under study, pension covered workers are significantly less likely to move only in the United Kingdom, while pension portability losses do not generally act as a significant impediment to labour mobility. Although these results are consistent with the pension portability options guaranteed by defined contribution plans in Denmark and by industry wide and company defined benefit plans in the Netherland, they provide somewhat surprising evidence for the United Kingdom and particularly for Ireland, where defined benefit pensions typically have limited portability. Rather, the finding of positive wage premiums accruing to pension covered workers in the latter two countries, particularly in Ireland, is consistent with the view that individuals are less likely to leave "good" jobs.

IV. Journal Tables of Contents (check your library for availability):

15. Age and Aging (Vol. 30, No. 5, Sept. 2001). Note: Electronic full-text of this journal may be available. Check with your organization's library.

16. AMEDEO MEDICAL LITERATURE: Note: "AMEDEO has been created to serve the needs of healthcare professionals, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, administrators, other members of the health professions, and patients and their friends. They can easily access timely, relevant information within their respective fields... All AMEDEO services are free of charge. This policy was made possible thanks to generous unrestricted educational grants provided by AMGEN, Berlex, Eisai, Glaxo Wellcome, Novartis, Pfizer, Roche, and Schering AG."

A. Osteoporosis: Literature for the week of November 20, 2001:

B. Alzheimer's Disease: Literature for the week of November 20, 2001:

C. Parkinson's Disease: Literature for the week of November 20, 2001:

AMADEO Literature Guide:


V. Funding Opportunities:

17. NIH: "Studies of the Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications (ELSI) of Human Genetic Variation Research for Individuals and Diverse Racial and Ethnic Groups," (US National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging, in conjunction with several other agencies, RFA-HG-02-003, November 15, 2001).

VI. Legislation Information Updates:

18. US SENATE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON AGING HEARING PUBLICATION: "Long-Term Care: Who Will Care for the Aging Baby Boomers?" a hearing held June 28, 2001 (US Serial Publication No. 107-106, .pdf and HTML format, 108p.).

Scroll to or "find in page" "107-106" (without the quotes).

VII. Websites of Interest:

19. GPO--COMPENDIUM: The "United States Code," the general and permanent laws in effect as of January 2, 2001, has been made available at the Govermnent Printing Office website. It can be searched or browsed by title (Title 1-7).

20. FIRSTGOV FOR SENIORS: "Announcement of Relationship Between FirstGov for Seniors and" (FirstGov for Seniors, November 2001). "Health-mart is a web site that contains hospital pricing and outcome data by disease for virtually every hospital in the U.S.. Users of the site can compare how long a hospital stay may last for a particular condition, as well as the expected cost. A hospital report card identifies the top hospitals for any given disease based on length of stay, pricing and mortality that occurs during hospital treatment." Instructions for accessing Health-mart are provided at the top of the page. Please note that free access is only available to users who enter through the FirstGov site.

For more information about Health-mart go to:

21. AOA: "Eldercare Locator," (Administration on Aging, November 2001)."Since 1991, the Eldercare Locator, a nationwide toll-free service, has helped older adults and their caregivers find local services for seniors. The U.S. Administration on Aging is now pleased to make part of this service available on-line so that consumers can easily link to the information and referral (I&R) services of their state and area agencies on aging. These I&R programs can help you identify appropriate services in the area where you or your family member resides." To use the online service, select a state from the list and enter a zip code.

For more information about the Eldercare Locator service, go to:




Charlie Fiss
Information Manager
Center for Demography and Ecology
Rm. 4470A Social Science Bldg
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Phone: (608) 265-9240
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