Current Awareness in Aging Research (CAAR) Report #166--December 19, 2002


NOTE!! There will be no CAAR Report next week, December 26, 2002. This service will resume on Friday, January 3, 2003. Enjoy the break.

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. HRS/AHEAD: The Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan's Health and Retirement Study/Study of Assets and Health Dynamics Among the Oldest Old has made the following data available as of December 12,13, and 18 2002.

A. Tracker File (Version 3.0) Release in a Dec. 12, 2002 announcement.

B. NDI 2000 File (Public) Early Release, Version 1.0

C. AHEAD 1995 Imputation Release (Version 3.0)

D. HRS 1996 Imputation Release (Version 3.0)

E. HRS 1998 Imputation Release (Version 3.0)

F. HRS 2000 Imputation Release (Version 2.0)

G. Data Alert (Tracker File 3.0): Codebook Replaced

Information about these data releases can be found at:

For access to data see:

and click on "User Registration".

2. MEPS: The US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Medical Expenditure Panel Survey has made available the following data updates as of Dec. 13, 2002:

A. Update of 1996-1999 MEPS Hospital Inpatient Stays, Emergency Room Visits, Outpatient Visits, and Office-Based Medical Visits Event Files for the variable SURGPROC.

B. Update of MEPS HC-038 1999 Full Year Consolidated File. Data is available in ASCII and SAS transport format, in two different compression formats. Documentation may be available in one or more of the following formats: HTML, ASCII, .pdf or ASP (Active Server Page).

3. NCHS:

A. National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) Final 2001 Data Release (US National Center for Health Statistics, December 2002). Datasets are in self-decompressing (.exe) ASCII format, documentation is in .pdf format, and SAS & SPSS input statements are in ASCII format.

Click on "Final 2001 Data Release".

B. Longitudinal Studies on Aging II (LSOA) Wave 3 Decedent Interview (US National Center for Health Statistics, December 2002). Included are the data (ASCII format), SAS data statements (ASCII format), and codebook and questionnaires (.pdf format).

4. SSA TABLE: The US Social Security Administration has updated its"Social Security Beneficiary Statistics: Number of beneficiaries receiving benefits on December 31, 1970-2002" table.


II. Reports and articles:


A. "Demographic Trends in the 20th Century," by Frank Hobbs and Nicole Stoopes (US Census 2000 Special Reports, CENSR-4, November 2002, .pdf format, 222p.). The report is linked to from a Census Bureau News Release:"Census Analysis Tracks 100 Years of Change" (Dec. 17, 2002).

Click on the Internet address at the bottom of the news release for full text.

B. "Census Bureau and Northwestern University Open Data Lab in Chicago" (Dec. 18, 2002). "The U.S. Census Bureau and Northwestern University will formally open a research data center (RDC) laboratory Thursday, Dec. 19, in Chicago, the eighth such center in the country. Centrally located in Chicago's "Loop," the new RDC offers qualified researchers restricted access to unpublished economic and demographic data collected by the Census Bureau. RDC operating procedures, strict security and strong legal safeguards are designed to protect the confidentiality of the data." For full text see:

6. NCHS:

A. "Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Adults: National Health Interview Survey, 1998," by J.R. Pleis and R. Coles (US National Center for Health Statistics, Vital and Health Statistics, Series 10, No. 209, December 2002, .pdf format, 113p.).

B. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) Data Brief: Osteoporosis (US National Center for Health Statistics, December 2002, .pdf format, 2p.).

7. ILCUSA REPORT: "ILC Policy Report" (International Longevity Center, USA, November/December 2002, .pdf format, 6p.). The ILC Policy Report is"a monthly compilation of longevity news and trends in the U.S. and abroad."

8. DHHS OIG REPORT: "Medicare Part B Payments for Myocardial Perfusion Imaging" (US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General OEI-06-01-00050, November 2002, .pdf format, 9p.).

9. BOSTON COLLEGE CENTER FOR RETIREMENT RESEARCH ISSUES IN BRIEF: "Is Working Longer The Answer For An Aging Workforce?" by Gary Burtless and Joseph F. Quinn (IB-11, December 2002, .pdf format, 11p.).

10. UK DEPARTMENT OF WORK AND PENSIONS: "Simplicity, security and choice: working and saving for retirement" (United Kingdom Department of Work and Pensions, December 2002, .pdf format, 168p.). This "Green Paper" is accompanied by a technical paper (.pdf format, 101p.), a summary (.pdf format, 16p.), and a press release.

11. KING'S FUND REPORT SUMMARY: "Great to be Grey: How can the NHS can recruit and retain more older staff?" by Sandra Meadows (King's Fund, December 2002, .pdf format, 7p.). Note: The complete report is only available in print, and must be ordered from the King's Fund. Ordering information is available in the summary.

For more information about King's Fund see:


Boosts for Home and Community Care: Territorys and South Australia:

A. "$713,000 Boost for Home and Community Care" ([Northern] Territories, Dec. 16, 2002).

B. "$7.35 Million Boost for Home and Community Care" (South Australia, Dec. 16, 2002).

C. "New Rehabilitation Project for Older Tasmanians" (Dec. 17, 2002).


A. "Ageing workforce will exacerbate NHS staffing crisis," by Caroline White (_British Medical Journal_ News, Vol. 325, No. 7377, Dec. 14, 2002, HTML and .pdf format, p. 1382).

B. "Beta Blockers for glaucoma and excess risk of airways obstruction: population based cohort study," by James F. Kirwan, Julia A. Nightingale, Catey Bunce, and Richard Wormald (_British Medical Journal_ Primary Care, Vol. 325, No. 7377, Dec. 14, 2002, HTML and .pdf format, p. 1396-1397).

14. _LANCET_ ARTICLE ABSTRACT, RAPID REVIEW ABSTRACT: Note: _Lancet_ requires free registration before providing content.

A. "Age-specific relevance of usual blood pressure to vascular mortality: a meta-analysis of individual data for one million adults in 61 prospective studies," by the Prospective Studies Collaboration (_Lancet_, Vol. 360, No. 9349, Dec. 14, 2002, p. 1903-1913).

B. "Mild cognitive impairment in older people," by Alistair Burns and Michael Zaudig (_Lancet_ Rapid Reivew, Vol. 360, No. 9349, Dec. 14, 2002, p. 1963-1965).

15. MEDSCAPE ARTICLES: Note: Medscape requires free registration before providing articles.

A. "Federal Government Moves Forward With Medicare-Endorsed Prescription Drug Card Initiative," by Diane Ung and Carrie E. Fogliani (_Drug Benefit Trends_, Vol. 14, No. 10, 2002, p. 15-16, 26, via Medscape).

B. "Treating Bipolar Disorder in Older Adults: Gaps in Knowledge Remain" (_Brown University Geriatric Psychopharmacology Update_, Vol. 6, No. 11, 2002, p. 1, 4).


A. "The 'Mature Worker' Glut: The pressures for early retirement are clear. But in an aging society, they're disastrous. We need to have a profound transformation of work," by Robert J. Samuelson (_Newsweek_, Dec. 16, 2002).

B. "Preventing Alzheimer's: Research suggests that some antioxidants may play a part in staving off the disease," by Ian Smith (_Newsweek_ Web Exclusive, December 2002.).

17. _ECONOMIST_ ARTICLE: "A fixed retirement age is an anachronism" (_Economist_, Dec. 12, 2002).


III. Working Papers:

18. UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN POPULATION RESEARCH CENTER: "Gender and Well-Being among the Elderly: Evidence from Thailand," by Teresa Sobieszczyk, John Knodel, and Napaporn Chayovan (PSC Research Report 02-531, December 2002, .pdf format, 30p.).


Researchers and international organizations frequently suggest that elderly women are broadly disadvantaged in comparison to elderly men. This analysis of data from Thailand, however, indicates a far more complex association between gender and various aspects of aging. Using data from the 1% sample of the 2000 Thai census and two national surveys of the elderly in Thailand conducted in 1994 and 1995, we examine the association between gender and various demographic, economic, psychosocial, and health variables. We find that elderly Thai women do face certain disadvantages in comparison to their male counterparts, including lower education and literacy, far greater chances of experiencing widowhood and living alone, and lower likelihood of receiving formal retirement benefits. Elderly Thai men, however, face other disadvantages compared to women, including worse survivorship, a lower likelihood of receiving money from adult children, and a greater probability of debt and other financial problems. Men are also less likely to feel satisfied with their financial situation. Many other demographic, psychosocial, and economic measures are not significantly associated with gender. Our analysis provides some support for a life course perspective that relates gender differences in old age to differences in earlier life experiences, roles, and reward structures, particularly in terms of access to retirement pensions and the type of support elderly men and women provide to their coresident children. The analysis highlights the importance of marital status and age distinction, which often mediate gender differences in elderly well-being. The study concludes with research and policy recommendations.

19. NEW ZEALAND TREASURY: "Population Ageing and Social Expenditure in New Zealand: Stochastic Projections," by John Creedy and Grant M. Scobie (TWP-02/28, December 2002, .pdf format, 46p.).


It is widely recognised that as the population ages there will be potentially significant implications for a wide range of economic variables, including in particular the fiscal costs of social expenditures. Long term fiscal planning requires estimates of the possible future path of public spending. This paper presents projections for 14 categories of social spending. These projections are based on detailed demographic estimates covering fertility, migration and mortality disaggregated by single year of age and gender. Distributional parameters are incorporated for all of the major variables, and are used to build up probabilistic projections for social expenditure as a share of GDP using simulation. Attention is focussed on health expenditures which are disaggregated into seven broad classes. In addition we explore the impacts of alternative hypothesis about future health costs. While it can be predicted with some confidence that overall social expenditures will rise, the results suggest that long term planning would be enriched by recognising the distributions about point estimates of projected social costs.

20. MAASTRICHT [NETHERLANDS] RESEARCH CENTER FOR EDUCATION AND THE LABOR MARKET: "Do Older Workers Have More Trouble Using a Computer Than Younger Workers?" by Lex Borghans and Bas ter Weel (ROA-RM-2002/1E, February 2002, .pdf format, 31p.).


Technological change is often perceived to harm the position of the incumbent workforce compared to new entrants. Particularly the labor-market position of older workers, who are thought to have lower abilities or incentives to acquire new skills, might be deteriorated by the arrival of new technologies. Computers are a major example of such a new technology. A lack of skills might hamper computerization of the jobs of older workers and decrease the value of their existing skills. Several authors have shown however that the age pattern of computer use does not seem to fit in this view and argued that the relationship between age, computer use and skills is more complex. This paper examines the computer use of older workers from the perspective that the availability of skills is not the only factor relevant for the decision to invest in computers. Using British data, estimates are presented showing that computer use does not depend on age when taking into account wage costs and the tasks to be performed at work. It does turn out that older workers embody less computer skills than younger workers, but the main distinction lies between the 20-29 year old workers and the others. Investigating the value of computer skills reveals that these skills do not seem to yield labor-market returns and the relative lack of computer skills is unlikely to negatively affect the wages of older workers. Hence, the analysis does not find support for the concern about older workers not being able to cope with computers.

Click on "twp02-28.pdf" for full text.

21. CENTER FOR STUDIES IN ECONOMICS AND FINANCE, UNIVERSITY OF SALERNO [ITALY]: "The Survey on Health, Aging, and Wealth," by Agar Brugiavini, Tullio Jappelli, and Guglielmo Weber (Working Paper No. 86, September 2002, .pdf format, 42p.).

22. FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF ST. LOUIS: "Explaining the Evolution of Pension Structure and Job Tenure," by Leora Friedberg and Michael T. Owyang (Working Paper 2002-022A, October 2002, .pdf format, 45p.).


Workers have experienced a major shift in pension structure in the last twenty years. Defined benefit (DB) pensions, which reward long job tenure, used to be typical. Now, most pensioned workers have defined contribution (DC) pensions, in which funds go directly into a portable account. Past research offers theories to explain DB pensions but not the change in pension structure. This paper uses a contract-theoretic matching model with moral hazard to explain changes in both pension structure and job tenure; in a related paper (Friedberg and Owyang 2002), we develop a richer model with job-specific human capital subject to technology shocks that yields the same results. An increase in uncertainty reduces expected match duration and thus the appeal of DB pensions. We argue that increased uncertainty is linked to a shift in the nature of technological change. This explanation is consistent with observed trends in pension structure, job tenure, and technological progress.


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

23. Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Vol. 1, No. 3, 2002.

24. INGENTA Tables of Contents: INGENTA provides fee based document delivery services for selected journals.

A. Point your browser to:

B. click on "browse by publication"
C. Type the Journal Name in the "by words in the title" search box and click "search".
D. View the table of contents for the issue noted.

Educational Gerontology (Vol. 28, No. 10, 2002). Note: Full electronic text of this journal is available in the EBSCO Host Academic Search Elite Database. Check your organization's library for the availability of this database and this issue.

25. 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 Dec. 17, 2002:

B. Alzheimer's Disease: Literature for the week of Dec. 17, 2002:

C. Parkinson's Disease: Literature for the week of Dec. 17, 2002:

AMADEO Literature Guide:


V. Funding Opportunities:

26. NIH: "Nanoscience and Nanotechnology in Biology and Medicine" (US National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging in conjunction with several other agencies, PAR-03-045, Dec. 12, 2002). For more information see:


VI. Conferences:

27. AARP EVENT: "Life@50+," an AARP event, to be held Sep. 5-7, 2002 in Chicago, Illinois. For more information, including registration information, see:

28. HRS: The University of Michigan Institute for Social Research Health and Retirement Study (HRS) has issued a call for papers for a Research Conference on Older Families, to be held sometime early in 2004. Paper proposals are due Jul. 15, 2003. For more information see:


VII. Websites of Interest:

29. MEDICARE.GOV UPDATE:, "the official U.S. Government Site for people with Medicare" has updated the information in its Prescription Drug Assistance Programs section. "This section provides information on public and private programs that offer discounted or free medication, as well as Medicare health plans that include prescription coverage." Users can query the database via state or zip code searches.

More information on

Jack Solock
Data Librarian--Center for Demography and Ecology and Center for
Demography of Health and Aging
4470 Social Science
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison, WI 53706