Current Awareness in Aging Research (CAAR) Report #23--March 2, 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:

Note: The next CAAR report will be issued Friday, March 10, 2000.


I. Data:

1. NCHS 1997 NHIS: The National Center for Health Statistics has made available the final public use release of the 1997 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). Note: "In 1997, the NHIS changed significantly in virtually all aspects of questionnaire design and content." Data, documentation, SAS and SPSS input statements, survey questionnaires, flash cards, and the field representative manual are available.

and scroll to "1997 NHIS".

2. PSID: The University of Michigan Institute for Social Research Panel Study of Income Dynamics website has announced release 3 of the 1968-1997 Early-Release Individual File. "The finalization of the 1985-1997 Family History Files gave PSID staff the opportunity to correct some errors and add variables in our archive of individual data. The errors included scrambled data records for a few individuals, and so the case count has changed. The added variables include 1994-1997 Type of Individual and Why Non-Response; 1994-1997 Month and Year of Move Out and Family Interview Number of Main Family for splitoff individuals; 1994-1997 Follow Status; and 1996-1997 Reason for Following an individual. Age variables for all waves are now three-digit, with no topcoding at age 98, and 1994-1997 employment status for Other Family Unit Members is now included. See the readme file in the zip package for details."

See the 2/25/00 announcement.

3. HRS/AHEAD--DOCUMENTATION UPDATE: The University of Michigan Institute for Social Research Health and Retirement Study/Asset and Health Dynamics Among the Oldest Old (HRS/AHEAD) website has revised and expanded user guide information on survey content and modules.


II. Reports and articles

4. WHITE HOUSE REPORT: "America's Seniors and Medicare: Challenges for Today and Tomorrow, A State by State Status Report" (National Economic Council/Domestic Policy Council, The White House, February 2000, .pdf format, 61p.).

>From the Executive Summary:

Medicare has successfully improved the health and quality of life for millions of seniors and people with disabilities. Yet, enrollment will double over the next 30 years (from 39 to 80 million beneficiaries); Medicare has not been given the tools it needs to be as competitive and efficient as it needs to be in the 21 st century; and despite modern medicine's reliance on pharmaceuticals, the program does not cover prescription drugs. This report provides a state-by-state break-out of the overwhelming demographic and health care challenges confronting the Medicare program.

5. _AMERICAN HEART JOURNAL_ (VIA MEDSCAPE) ARTICLE: " Management of Heart Failure Among Very Old Persons Living in Long-Term Care: Has the Voice of Trials Spread?" by Giovanni Gambassi, Daniel E. Forman, Kate L. Lapane, Vincent Mor, Antonio Sgadari, Lewis A. Lipsitz, and Roberto Bernabei (_American Heart Journal_, January, 2000, Vol. 139, No. 1, p. 85-93). Note: Medscape requires free registration before providing articles.

>From the Abstract:

Background: Increasing prevalence, use of health services, and number of deaths have made congestive heart failure (CHF) a new epidemic in the United States. Yet there are no adequate data to guide treatment of the more typical and complex cases of patients who are very old and frail. Conclusions: Patients in long-term care who have CHF little resemble those enrolled in randomized trials. This circumstance may explain, at least in part, the divergence from pharmacologic management consensus guidelines. Yet the prescription of ACE inhibitors varies significantly across facilities and depends on organizational characteristics.

6. CENTER FOR POLICY RESEARCH, MAXWELL SCHOOL OF CITIZENSHIP AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY POLICY BRIEF: "Eleventh Annual Herbert Lourie Memorial Lecture on Health Policy. Health Promotion for Older Adults: What Is the Potential?" by Linda P. Fried (Policy Brief No. 17, 2000, .pdf format, 25p.).

7. _NCHS_ REPORT: "An Overview of Nursing Home Facilities: Data from the 1997 National Nursing Home Survey," (Advance Data 311, (PHS) 2000-1250, February 2000, .pdf format, 12p.).

>From the Abstract:

In 1997, there were an estimated 1.6 million current residents and 2.4 million discharges from 17,000 nursing homes nationwide. The average number of beds per nursing home was 107 with an occupancy rate of 88 percent. The majority of nursing home residents and discharges were elderly, white, and female. These facilities were predominantly proprietary and certified by both Medicare and Medicaid.

click on "View/Download PDF" for full text.

8. SUPREME COURT DECISION: "Shalala, Secretary of Health and Human Services, et al. v. Illinois Council on Long Term Care, Inc." (No. 98-1109, Argued Nov. 8, 1999-Decided Feb. 29, 2000).

Cornell University Legal Information Institute (HTML and .pdf formats):

FindLaw (HTML with Hypertext Links to Cited Case Law):

9. _U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT_ ARTICLE: "Vision Loss in Seniors: The Future Looks Brighter," by Mary Brophy Marcus (_U.S. News and World Report, Mar. 6, 2000).

10. _NEJM_ SOUNDING BOARD ARTICLE: "Death and the Research Imperative," by Daniel Callahan (_New England Journal of Medicine_, Vol. 342, No. 9, Mar. 2, 2000). Note: Full electronic text of this article is available.

11. SSA OP REPORTS: The Office of Policy of the Social Security Administration has recently released the following reports:

A. _Earnings and Employment Data for Workers Covered Under Social Security by State and County 1996_ (.pdf format, each state is available as a separate file, or the entire publication can be downloaded in one self decompressing (.exe) file). The 1995 issue is also available at the site. "This statistical report represents employment and earnings data by selected characteristics (sex, age, and race) for persons in Social Security covered employment. The tables include workers in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Guam. Members of the Armed Forces are shown separately. U.S. citizens employed abroad by American employers and persons working on American vessels are grouped together.

B. Highlights of Social Security Data, December 1999 (two charts plus text highlights).

C. Highlights of Supplemental Security Income Data, December 1999 (two charts plus text highlights).

D. _Income of the Population 55 or Older, 1998_ (March 2000, .pdf format, 173p., information can be downloaded by topic or the entire publication can be downloaded in one file). "Using selected data from the Income of the Population 55 or Older data compilation, this chart book highlights data on the receipt and shares of income from Social Security, pensions, asset income, earnings, public assistance, and other income. The data are shown by marital status, race and Hispanic origin."


III. Working Papers

12. NBER WORKING PAPERS: The National Bureau of Economic Research has released the following working papers:

A. "Differential Mortality and the Value of Individual Account Retirement Annuities," by Jeffrey R. Brown (W7560, February 2000, .pdf format, 55p.).

>From the Abstract:

This paper examines the extent of redistribution that would occur under various annuity and bequest options as part of an individual accounts retirement program. I first estimate mortality differentials by gender, race, ethnicity and level of education using the National Longitudinal Mortality Study and document substantial differences. I then use these estimates to examine the expected transfers' that would take place between socioeconomic groups under different assumptions about the structure of an annuity program. Using an expected present discounted value or "money's worth" calculation as the basis for comparison, I find that the size of transfers in an individual accounts program is highly sensitive to the benefit structure. For example, mandating a single-life, real annuity can result in expected transfers of as high as 20% of the account balance, often from economically disadvantaged groups toward groups that are better off. These transfers can be substantially reduced through the use of joint life annuities, survivor provisions and bequest options. For example, the largest expected negative transfer under a joint and full survivor annuity with a fully valued 20-year guarantee option is only 2% of the account balance. However, efforts to reduce the extent of redistribution generally do so at the cost of significantly lower annuity benefits paid to the individuals who contribute to the system.

click on "PDF" for full text.

B. "Long Run Effects of Social Security Reform Proposals on Lifetime Progressivity," by Julia Lynn Coronado, Don Fullerton, and Thomas Glass (W7568, February 2000, .pdf format, 59p.).

>From the Abstract:

This paper uses a lifetime framework to address questions about the progressivity of social security and proposed reforms. We use a large sample of diverse individuals from the PSID to calculate lifetime income, to classify individuals into income quintiles, and then to calculate the present value of taxes minus benefits for each person in each group. In our basic calculations, the current system is slightly progressive, overall, on a lifetime basis. Social Security would become slightly more progressive in one of the reform plans, and it would become slightly regressive in each of the other plans. The pattern of progressivity is affected by alternative assumptions, but it is affected in similar ways for the current system and proposed reforms. None of these reforms greatly alters the current degree of progressivity on a lifetime basis.

click on "PDF" for full text.

C. "Social Security and Inequality over the Life Cycle," by Angus Deaton, Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, and Christina Paxson (W7570, February 2000, .pdf format, 42p.).

>From the Abstract:

This paper examines the consequences of social security reform for the inequality of consumption across individuals. The idea is that inequality is at least in part the result of individual risk in earnings or asset returns, the effects of which accumulate over time to increase inequality within groups of people as they age. Institutions such as social security, that share risk across individuals, will moderate the transmission of individual risk into inequality. We examine how different social security
systems, with different degrees of risk sharing, affect consumption inequality. We do so within the framework of the permanent income hypothesis, and also using richer models of consumption that incorporate precautionary saving motives and borrowing restrictions. Our results indicate that systems in which there is less sharing of earnings risk such as systems of individual accounts produce higher consumption inequality both before and after retirement. However, differences across individuals in the rate of return on assets (including social security assets held in individual accounts) produce only modest additional effects on inequality.


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

13. _American Journal of Public Health_ (Vol. 90, No. 3, March 2000). Note: This journal is available in electronic full text in the EBSCO Host Academic Search Elite Database and the ProQuest Research Library. Check your library for the availability of these databases and of this issue.


Selected Abstracts:

14. Full text of _Journal of Aging and Health_ (Vol. 12, No. 1, February 2000) is available in the ProQuest Research Library. Check your library for the availability of this database.

15. Full text of _Health and Social Work_ (Vol. 25, No. 1, February 2000) is available in the ProQuest Research Library. Check your library for the
availability of this database.

16. 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

American Journal of Epidemiology (Vol. 151, No. 3, 4, Feb. 1, 2000, Feb. 15, 2000).


V. Legislation Information Updates


A. Hearing Testimony:

B. Testimony Before the Committee on Finance, U.S. Senate: "Medicare Reform: Leading Proposals Lay Groundwork, While Design Decisions Lay Ahead," Statement by David M. Walker, Comptroller General of the United States, Testimony Before the Committee on Finance, U.S. Senate, Feb. 24, 2000 (T-HEHS/AIMD-00-103, .pdf format, 27p.).

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.


Hearing Testimony:


VI. Conferences and Workshops

19. AOA SYMPOSIUM: "Building the Network on Aging Toolkit," a Department of Health and Social Services Administration on Aging symposium to be held May 23-25, 2000, Chicago IL. "The Administration on Aging is pleased to announce the second of a two-part symposia series directed toward the challenges and opportunities of a long living society. Symposium I, "Longevity in the New American Century," presented research findings in the areas of long term care and caregiving, economic security, health, diversity, consumer protection, productive aging and information and technology. The primary objective of Symposium II, "Building the Network on Aging Toolkit," is to bridge the gap between research and practice. It will inform participants about what the research is telling us about client and systems outcomes that can be achieved through the design and implementation of evidence-based activities. The Symposium will enable those in attendance to generate measurable outcomes that, among other things, improve health status, reduce health disparities, increase economic security, decrease caregiver stress and increase the independence of older persons."


VII. Websites of Interest

20. CZECH REPUBLIC POPULATION INFORMATION WEBSITE: The United Nations Population Information Network (POPIN) and the Department of Demography and Geodemography, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic, have launched the Czech POPIN site. One of the highlights of the site is the population statistics section, including main demographic indicators, age structure, divorce, and nuptiality. Annual data are available back to 1980, and most data are broken out by age. Also available is information on population trends and policy.

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