Current Awareness in Aging Research (CAAR) Report #19--February 3, 2000

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. NCHS--NHIS QUESTIONNAIRES: The National Center for Health Statistics has released copies of the 1999 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) Questionnaires (WordPerfect format). Available at present are the household, family, adult, and child sections of the 1999 Survey and the recontact section of the 1997 Survey. For more information, see the readme file.

2. CENSUS BUREAU: The Census Bureau has released "1998 Annual Survey of State and Local Government Employee-Retirement Systems." Included are the data (ASCII text format), documentation (Microsoft Word and ASCII text format), five tables (ASCII text and Microsoft Excel format), and line item and unit codes (ASCII text format). Data is also available for 1997.

Press Release that Links to the Data:

and click on "state and local government...".


II. Reports and articles

3. CORRECTION: The Internet address for the "1997 American Housing Survey for the U.S." in last week's CAAR (CAAR #18, January 27, 2000) was incorrect. The correct address is:

4. COMMONWEALTH FUND REPORT: The Task Force on the Future of Health Insurance for Working Americans Program of the Commonwealth Fund has released "Risks for Midlife Americans: Getting Sick, Becoming Disabled, or Losing a Job and Health Coverage," by John Budetti, Cathy Schoen, Elisabeth Simantov, and Janet Shikles (Paper #364, January 2000, .pdf format, 15p.). "The Commonwealth Fund is a philanthropic foundation established in 1918 by Anna M. Harkness with the broad charge to enhance the common good. The Fund carries out this mandate through its efforts to help Americans live healthy and productive lives and to assist specific groups with serious and neglected problems."

>From the Abstract:

This short report, derived from The Commonwealth Fund 1999 National Survey of Workers' Health Insurance, highlights the vulnerability of millions of midlife Americans to losing their job-based coverage in the face of heightened risk for chronic disease, disability, or loss of employment.

5. _DRUG BENEFIT TRENDS_ (VIA MEDSCAPE) ARTICLE: "Improving the Quality of Managed Care for Patients With Mild to Moderate Alzheimer's Disease," by Howard Fillit (_Drug Benefit Trends_, Vol. 11, No. 11, November 1999, p. 6-11). Note: Medscape requires free registration before providing articles.

>From the Abstract:

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the third most costly disease to society after heart disease and cancer, accounting for $100 billion in yearly costs. As enrollment of elderly persons in Medicare managed care increases, care management of AD is essential to managing the costs of this illness. The need is heightened by the increase in co-morbidities, longer hospitalizations, and greater caregiver costs typically associated with the disease. The purpose of this article is to review cost, care management, and treatment issues relating to AD, with a particular emphasis on the managed care setting and a view toward designing better systems to improve the management of the disease.

6. LEWIN GROUP/AMERICAN HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION REPORT: The Lewin Group has prepared a report for the American Hospital Association: "The Impact of the Medicare Balanced Budget Refinement Act on Medicare Payments to Hospitals," by Allen Dobson, et. al. (February 2000, .pdf format, 90p.). A summary of findings can be found at the site.

and click on "clicking here" at the top of the page for full text.

7. GAO REPORT: "Medicare Subvention Demonstration: Enrollment in DOD Pilot Reflects Retiree Experiences and Local Markets" (General Accounting Office Report GAO/HEHS-00-35, January 2000, .pdf format, 48p.).

Note: GAO Internet addresses are valid for only a limited period of time. After that time, documents can be found by searching the Government Printing Office:

and searching on title or report number.
8. NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES (NAS) _ISSUES IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY_ ARTICLE: "Building on Medicare's Strengths," by Marilyn Moon (Winter 1999, HTML format).


III. Working Papers

9. NBER PAPERS IN AGING: The National Bureau of Economic Research has released the following Papers in Aging:

A. "Medicare Reform: The Larger Picture," by Victor R. Fuchs (W7504, January 2000). NOTE: This paper is currently not yet available electronically. It should be available electronically shortly.

>From the Abstract:

The Medicare 'problem' is examined as part of the larger problem of providing for the overall financial needs of the elderly. Several myths about Medicare are discussed, and sources and uses of the elderly's full income are estimated. The paper explores policy options to deal with technology-induced increases in health care expenditures and excessive dependence of the elderly on transfers from the young. The paper concludes that if Americans wish to continue to enjoy the benefits of medical advances, they will have to work more before and after age 65 and will have to increase substantially their rate of saving.

B. "Is Addiction 'Rational'? Theory and Evidence, by Jonathan Gruber and Botond Koszegi (W7507, January 2000, .pdf format, 54p.).

>From the Abstract:

A standard model of addictive process is Becker and Murphy's rational addiction' model, which has the key empirical prediction that the current consumption of addictive goods should respond to future prices, and the key normative prediction that the optimal government regulation of addictive goods should depend only on their interpersonal externalities. While a variety of previous studies have supported this empirical contention, we demonstrate that these results are very fragile. We propose a new empirical test for the case of cigarettes, using state excise tax increases that have been legislatively enacted but are not yet effective, and monthly data on consumption. We find strong evidence that consumption drops when there are announced future tax increases, providing more robust support for the key empirical prediction of the Becker and Murphy model. But we also propose a new formulation of this model that makes only one change, albeit a major one: the incorporation of the inconsistent preferences which are likely to provide a much better platform for understanding the smoking decision. We find that with these preferences the model continues to yield the predictions for forward-looking behavior that have been tested by others and by ourselves. But it has strikingly different normative implications, as with these preferences optimal government policy should depend as well on the internalities' imposed by smokers on themselves. We estimate that the optimal tax per pack of cigarettes should be at least one dollar higher under our formulation than in the rational addiction case.

10. ERASMUS UNIVERSITY (THE NETHERLANDS) ECONOMETRIC INSTITUTE: "Retirement Saving with Contribution Payments and Labor Income as a Benchmark for Investments," by Arjan Berkelaar and Roy Kouwenberg (Econometric Institute Report EI-9946/A, 1999, .pdf format, 37p.).

>From the Abstract:

In this paper we study the retirement saving problem from the point of view of a plan sponsor, who makes contribution payments for the future retirement of an employee. The plan sponsor considers the employee's labor income as investment-benchmark in order to ensure the continuation of consumption habits after retirement. We demonstrate that the demand for risky assets increases at low wealth levels due to the contribution payments. We quantify the demand for hedging against changes in wage growth and find that it is relatively small. We show that downside-risk measures increase risk-taking at both low and high levels of wealth.


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

11. Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences (A) (Vol. 54, No. 12, December 1999).

12. CARL Uncover Journal Tables of Contents. Follow the instructions below to access tables of contents. CARL Uncover provides fee based document delivery services for selected journals.

A. Point your browser to:

B. click on "Search Uncover"
C. click on "Search Uncover Now"
D. Type the Journal Name in the search box and click the radio button "Journal Title Browse"
E. click on the journal name
F. click on "journal issues"
G. click on the issues identified below

International Psychogeriatrics (Vol. 11, No. 4, December 1999).


V. Legislation Information Updates

13. SENATE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON AGING HEARINGS: The Senate Special Committee on Aging has released two Hearings Publications (print availability only). They are: _Too Much Information? The Impact of OASIS on Access to Home Health Care_ (106-7) and _Drugstore Surprise: The Impact of Drug Switching on Older Americans_ (106-12). These publications are available free of charge and can be ordered from the site.


VI. Websites of Interest

14. UNPD WEBSITE: The United Nations Population Division has opened a website with information about the "Technical Meeting on Population Ageing and Living Arrangements of Older Persons to be held at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 8-10 February 2000." The site, in addition to containing an agenda and list of participants, is highlighted at present by eleven papers on international aspects of the living arrangements of the elderly. All site documents are in .pdf format.

15. AOA PRESS ROOM: The Administration on Aging has added a new feature to its website. The AOA Press Room contains links to recent press releases, media advisories, factsheets, a calendar of upcoming events in aging, legislative updates, data and statistics, and links to relevant sites.

16. INTERNET INFORMATION NOTES ADDITION: The Administration on Aging National Aging Information Center has added a new section to its Internet Information Notes (discussed in CAAR #1, Sep. 16, 1999) meta-site.

Exercise and Fitness:

Internet Information Notes:

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