Current Awareness in Aging Research (CAAR) Report #230--March 25, 2004


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 USER'S NEWSLETTER: "HRS Data User's News" (Health and Retirement Study, University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, Spring 2004, .pdf format, 8p.).


II. Reports and articles:

2. CMS REPORT: "2004 Annual Report of the Boards of Trustees of the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust and Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Funds," (US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, March 2004, HTML and .pdf format, 215p.).

US Department of Health and Human Services news release (Mar. 23, 2004).

3. SSA REPORT: "2004 Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance Trust Funds," (US Social Security Administration, March 2004, HTML and .pdf format, 217p.).

4. CENSUS BUREAU REPORT: "Global Population Profile: 2002" (WP-02, March 2004, .pdf format, 226p.). Note: The report is linked to from a Census Bureau news release: "Global Population in 2002 Tops 6.2 Billion" (CB04-48, Mar. 22, 2004).

Click on "Global Population Profile: 2002" for full text.

5. DHHS NEWS RELEASE: "HHS Gives Seal of Approval to Medicare Drug Discount Cards" (US Department of Health and Human Services, Mar. 25, 2004).

6. NCHS:

A. "National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey: 2002 Emergency Department Summary," by Linda F. McCaig and Catharine W. Burt (Advance Data From Vital and Health Statistics No. 340, March 2004, .pdf format, 36p.). Note: The report is linked to from a NCHS news release: "CDC Releases Latest Data on Emergency Department Visits" (Mar. 18, 2004).

Click on "View/download PDF" for full text.

B. "Early Release of Selected Estimates Based on Data From the January-September 2003 National Health Interview Survey" (March 2004, .pdf format, 84p.).

7. US CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE ECONOMIC AND BUDGET ISSUE BRIEF: "The Retirement Prospects of the Baby Boomers" (March 2004, HTML, .pdf, and Corel WordPerfect format, 4p.).

Click on "PDF" or "WPD" tab at top right of page for .pdf or WordPerfect format.

8. AARP REPORT: "Self-Employment and the 50+ Population," by Lynn A. Karoly and Julie Zissimopoulos (March 2003, .pdf format, 121p.).

9. AOA NEWSLETTER: "AoA e-News," (US Administration on Aging, March 2004, HTML, .pdf and Microsoft Word format, 8p.).

10. FACULTY AND INSTITUTE OF ACTUARIES [UK] LETTER: "Open letter from four most senior actuaries to Andrew Smith sets out their 'serious concerns' about PPF" (March 22, 2004, .pdf format, 4p.).

11. _PNAS_ ARTICLE ABSTRACT: "Down-regulation of DENN/MADD, a TNF receptor binding protein, correlates with neuronal cell death in Alzheimer's disease brain and hippocampal neurons," by Keith Del Villar and Carol A. Miller (_Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 101, No. 12, Mar. 23, 2004, p.4210-4215).


A. "Preventing falls in elderly people" (_British Medical Journal_ Editorial (Vol. 328, No. 7441, Mar. 20, 2004, HTML and .pdf format, P. 653-654).

B. "Interventions for the prevention of falls in older adults: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised clinical trials," by John T. Chang, Sally C. Morton, Laurence Z. Rubenstein, Walter A. Mojica, Margaret Maglione, Marika J. Suttorp, Elizabeth A. Roth, and Paul G. Shekelle (_British Medical Journal_ (Vol. 328, No. 7441, Mar. 20, 2004, HTML and .pdf format, 7p.).

13. MEDSCAPE ARTICLE: Note: Medscape requires free registration before providing articles. "Screening and Cognitive Impairment: Ethics of Forgoing Mammography in Older Women," by Barrie L. Raik, Franklin G. Miller, and Joseph J. Fins (_Journal of the American Geriatrics Society_, Vol. 52, No. 3, 2004, p. 440-444, via Medscape).


A. "Social Security Isn't Doomed: But too many people now think it is. That's why supporters can't just lie back and say it will all work out," by Jane Bryant Quinn (_Newsweek, Mar. 29, 2004).

B. "The Smell of a Real Scandal: The run-up to the Iraq war was more hype than lie. Medicare is a clearer example of dishonesty and corruption at high levels," by Jonathan Alter (_Newsweek_, Mar. 29, 2004).

15. _ECONOMIST_ SPECIAL SECTION: The Mar. 27, 2004 issue of _Economist_ contains a special section: "A survey of retirement." One of the articles is freely available. "Forever young":

The other articles: "A long, long life"; "Old? Me?"; "Enough to live on";"Save, save, save"; "Under one roof"; "Don't go yet"; and "Grey power", are available to subscribers or on a pay per view basis. The entire section can also be purchased as a reprint. See:

Under the right column. Click on "Offer to readers" for reprint information.


III. Working Papers:


A. "Annuitization: Keeping Your Options Open," by Irena Dushi and Anthony Webb (WP 2004-04, March 2004, .pdf format, 38p.). Links to an extensive abstract, as well as full text, can be found at:

B. "Linking Benefits to Marital Status: Race and Diminishing Access to Social Security Spouse and Widow Benefits in the U.S.," by Madonna Harrington Meyer, Douglas A. Wolf, and Christine L. Himes (WP 2004-05, March 2004, .pdf format, 37p.).


Social Security retirement benefits have been noted for their capacity to redistribute benefits from higher to lower lifetime earners. However, two-thirds of older women receive spouse and widow benefits and the distributional impact of those benefits has not been well studied. Spouse and widow benefits are distributed on the basis of marital rather than employment status and generally require recipients to be either currently married or to have had a ten-year marriage. The unprecedented retreat from marriage, particularly among black women, means the distributional impact of these benefits changes dramatically for each cohort that enters old age. This paper uses June 1985, 1990 and 1995 CPS supplement data to trace the decline in marital rates for women for five cohorts. The main question is what proportion of women in each cohort will reach age 62 without a ten-year marriage and thus be ineligible for spouse and widow benefits. We find that the proportion who will not be eligible as spouses or widows is increasing modestly for whites and Hispanics but dramatically for African Americans. The growing race gap in marital rates means that older black women will be particularly unlikely to qualify for these benefits.

C. "Choice and Other Determinants of Employee Contributions to Defined Contribution Plans," by Leslie E. Papke (WP 2004-06, March 2004, .pdf format, 21p.).


Understanding the role that 401(k) plan characteristics -- like investment choice -- play in participation and employee contributions is important as more workers rely on this type of retirement plan and proposals for Social Security solvency include individual savings plans. Using the 1992 Health and Retirement Study, this paper investigates which individual and job characteristics are associated with asset choice in defined contribution plans. Investment choice is found to substantially increase contributions to defined contribution plans.

D. "Lessons for an Aging Society: The Political Sustainability of Social Security Systems," by Vincenzo Galasso and Paola Profeta (WP 2004-07, March 2004, .pdf format, 61p.).

What is the future of social security systems in OECD countries? In our view, the answer belongs to the realm of politics. We evaluate how political constraints shape the social security system in six countries -- France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and the US -- under population aging. Two main aspects of the aging process are relevant to the analysis. First, the increase in the dependency ratio -- the ratio of retirees to workers -- reduces the average profitability of the unfunded social security system, thereby inducing the agents to reduce the size of the system by substituting their claims towards future pensions with more private savings. Second, an aging electorate leads to larger systems, since it increases the relevance of pension spending on the policy-makers agenda. The overall assessment from our simulations is that the political aspect dominates in all countries, albeit with some differences. Spain, the fastest aging country, faces the largest increase in the social security contribution rate. When labor market considerations are introduced, the political effect still dominates, but it is less sizeable. Country specific characteristics (not accounted for in our simulations), such as the degree of redistribution in the pension system and the existence of family ties in the society, may also matter. Our simulations deliver a strong policy implication: an increase in the effective retirement age always decreases the size of the system chosen by the voters, while often increasing its generosity. Finally, delegation of pension policy to the EC may reduce political accountability and hence help to reform the systems.

17. POPULATION COUNCIL: "Trends and transitions in children's coresidence with older adults in Beijing municipality," by Zachary Zimmer, Xianghua Fang, Toshiko Kaneda, Zhe Tang, and Julia Kwong (Working Paper 187, 2004, .pdf format, 29p.).


This paper examines a) whether rates of coresidence between older adults and their adult children in the Beijing municipality of China have been declining, and b) the determinants of coresidence and coresidence transitions. The reduction in family size in China and concurrent social and economic change are raising concerns that traditional sources of support may be eroding. Associations with family size and other determinants that fit within categories of availability and need for support, and demographic characteristics, are tested. Data come from a longitudinal study conducted in Beijing municipality, including urban Beijing and rural surroundings. Results suggest very moderate declines in coresidence of the elderly with children from 1992 to 1997. Family size is modestly associated with coresidence, but other determinants are stronger. The use of time-varying covariates in multi-wave transition modeling shows that changes in some characteristics related to the need for support -- for instance, functional health -- lead to changes in coresidence. Implications for old-age support within an aging China are discussed.

Click on "Download the full Working Paper in PDF format" for full text.

18. UNIVERSITY OF COPENHAGEN INSTITUTE OF ECONOMICS: "QALYs When Health Varies Over Time: An Analysis of Model Identification and Parameter Estimation from Time Trade-Off and Standard Gamble Scores," by Kristian Schultz Hansen and Lars Peter Osterdal (Discussion Paper 04-05, March 2004, .pdf format, 29p.).


In the first part of the paper, we consider various QALY (quality-adjusted life year) models in situations where health varies over time, and provide a theoretical analysis of model identification and parameter estimation from time trade-off and standard gamble scores. We investigate deterministic and probabilistic models, and consider five different families of discount factors in all. The second part of the paper contains a discussion of some recurrent themes from related literature. Among other things, we question the standard gamble method as a gold standard in health preference measurement, re-examine the role of constant proportional trade-off, and discuss so-called double discounting of QALYs. We also argue that it is not a matter of choosing between time trade-off and standard gamble procedures, since both types of scores are generally needed in order to be able to disentangle risk aversion from discounting. More broadly, we find that conclusions drawn from the analysis of models involving chronic health states only may not necessarily apply to situations where health varies over time. One reason is that risk aversion and discounting may collapse to the same thing when all health states are chronic.

19. MAX PLANCK INSTITUTE FOR RESEARCH INTO ECONOMIC SYSTEMS: "Age Discrimination in Hiring Decisions - A Comparison of Germany and Norway," by Victoria Buesch, Svenn-Age Dahl, and Dennis A.V. Dittrich (March 2004, .pdf format, 30p.).


The workforce in all industrialized countries is aging. To forecast future challenges, it is important to understand the impact of a worker's age on the labor market. In this paper, we analyze whether older workers in Germany and Norway are treated differently in the hiring process. Students and personnel managers from both countries answered a questionnaire regarding the evaluation of three different applicants with varying age specifications and the respective hiring decisions. The investigation clearly shows that in Germany older applicants have a much lower hiring probability. In Norway, age does play a smaller role in hiring decisions.


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

20. American Journal of Epidemiology (Vol. 159, No. 7, Apr. 1, 2004).

21. 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. Click the "fax/ariel" radio button, 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.

Journal of Health and Social Behavior (Vol. 44, No. 4, 2003). Note: Full electronic text of this journal is available in the ProQuest Research Library. Check your library for the availability of this database and this issue.

22. 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 Mar. 24, 2004:

B. Alzheimer's Disease: Literature for the week of Mar. 24, 2004:

C. Parkinson's Disease: Literature for the week of Mar. 24, 2004:

D. Prostate Cancer: Literature for the week of Mar. 24, 2004:

AMADEO Literature Guide:


V. Books:

23. UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO PRESS: _Who Should Pay for Medicare?_ by Daniel Shaviro (2004, 184p, ISBN 0-226-75076-0, 25 US dollars). For more information see:


VI. Funding Opportunities:

24. NIH: "Research Partnerships for Improving Functional Outcomes" (US National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging, in conjunction with several other agencies, PAR-04-077, Mar 18, 2004). For more information see:


VII. Conferences:

25. NLS: "NLS User's Conference, Summer 2004." "BLS [US Bureau of Labor Statistics] is sponsoring a workshop in Columbus, Ohio, from August 3 - 6, 2004, to teach advanced level graduate students and recent Ph.D. recipients in economics, sociology, demography, public policy and other social sciences how to use data from the various National Longitudinal Surveys. We encourage applications from researchers in academic and non-academic settings. About 20 - 25 applications will be selected." For more information, including application information, see:

VIII. Legislation Information Updates:


A. "Crime Without Criminals? Seniors, Dementia And The Aftermath," a hearing held Mar. 22, 2004. Note: In addition to print copy hearing testimony, the hearing is available in its entirety (RealPlayer format, running time, 1 hour 20 minutes, 28 seconds).

Hearing testimony (.pdf format).

B. "Internet Fraud Hits Seniors: As Seniors Venture Into The Web, The Financial Predators Lurk and Take Aim," a hearing held Mar. 23, 2004. In addition to print copy hearing testimony, the hearing is available in its entirety (RealPlayer format, running time, 1 hour 36 minutes, 9 seconds).

Hearing testimony (.pdf format).



A. "A Fair Deal for Rural America: Fixing Medicare Reimbursement," a hearing held Apr. 14, 2003 (Senate Hearing 108-273, .pdf format, 91p.).

B. "Regulatory Relief for Medicare: The Case for Cutting Red Tape," a hearing held May 28, 2002 (Senate Hearing 107-1038, .pdf format, 80p.).

28. US HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE HEARING TESTIMONY: "Hearing on Board of Trustees 2004 Annual Reports," a hearing held Mar. 24, 2004.

Hearing testimony (HTML or .pdf format).

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