Current Awareness in Aging Research (CAAR) Report #263--November 18, 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:


NOTE!!! Due to the Thanksgiving Holiday in the US, the next CAAR report will be released next Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2004.


I. Data:

1. NCHS: The US National Center for Health Statistics has recently updated its "Data Warehouse on Trends in Health and Aging" web based data extractor (Beyond 20/20 format). Under a new topic folder "Mortality by Multiple Causes of Death" three tables have been added: "Comorbid Conditions by Age, Sex, and Race, United States, 1981-2001"; "Distribution of Deaths by Number of Conditions Reported, Age, Sex, and Race, United States, 1981-2001"; and "Deaths by Underlying and Multiple Cause, Age, Sex, and Race, United States, 1981-2001." Under "Risk Factors and Disease Prevention" "Influenza and Pneumonia Vaccinations by Age, Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin: United States, 1993-1995, 1997-2002 (NHIS)" has been added. Under "Socio-Economic Status" "Educational Attainment by Age, Sex, and Race-Hispanic Origin. United States, 1940-2002 (CPS)" has been added.

2. Missouri Census Data Center: "Rx: A Cure for the Common Codes" (University of Missouri). "A Cure for the Common Codes is a collection of web pages - one page for each state in the U.S. and the District of Columbia - that display common geographic codes pertaining to the state. While all of these codes are somewhat readily available at various locations on the web, we think it will be very convenient to have a 1-stop site where they are all collected in one place and in a consistent, compact format. Codes included in the initial release are: counties, places (cities), county subdivisions, various kinds of metropolitan/micropolitan areas, urban clusters and urbanized areas, and school districts."

3. HRS DATA ALERT: "2002 HRS Exit (Early Release, Version 1.0): Delete one case from the HRS 2002 Early Exit Data" (University of Michigan, Institute for Social Research, Health and Retirement Study, Nov. 14, 2004. For more information see:


II. Reports and articles:

4. FEDERAL INTERAGENCY FORUM ON AGING-RELATED STATISTICS CHARTBOOK: "Older Americans 2004: Key Indicators of Well-Being: 37 key indicators selected by the Forum to portray aspects of the lives of older Americans" (November 2004, HTML and .pdf format, 142p.).


A. "Priority Medicines for Europe and the World" (World Health Organization, 2004, .pdf and Microsoft Word format, 134p.). Note: The report is linked to from a WHO news release: "Landmark report could influence the future of medicines in Europe and the world" (Nov. 18, 2004).

Click on "Priority Medicines for Europe and the World" at the bottom of the news release.

B. "Main conclusions from the Informal Meeting of WHO, Influenza Vaccine Manufacturers, National Licensing Agencies, and Governmental Representatives on Influenza Pandemic Vaccines" (World Health Organization, Nov. 14, 2004).


A. "Veterans' Benefits: More Transparency Needed to Improve Oversight of VBA's Compensation and Pension Staffing Levels (US Government Accountability Office GAO-05-47, November 2004, .pdf format, 17p.).

B. "Nursing Home Deaths: Arkansas Coroner Referrals Confirm Weaknesses in State and Federal Oversight of Quality of Care" US Government Accountability Office GAO-05-78, November 2004, .pdf format, 69p.).

Note: These are temporary addresses. GAO reports are always available at:

7. _FR_ ITEM: "Physician fee schedule (2005 CY); payment policies and relative value units adjustment" (US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, published in the US _Federal Register_, Nov. 15, 2004, ASCII text and .pdf format, p. 66235-66915).

ASCII text:



A. "The Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit: Potential Impact on Beneficiaries," by Jack Rodgers and John Stell (AARP Public Policy Paper No. 2004-13, November 2004, .pdf format, 33p.).

Click on "Download or view" at the bottom of the page for full text.

B. "AGEing in Europe: Realizing and Promoting the Contributions of Older People," by Ann-Sophie Parent (AARP Global Aging Program, November 2004).

9. CDC PERIODICAL ARTICLE: "Prevalence of Visual Impairment and Selected Eye Diseases Among Persons Aged >50 Years With and Without Diabetes --- United States, 2002" (US Centers for Disease Control, _Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report_ (Vol. 53, No. 45, Nov. 19, 2004, HTML and .pdf format, p. 1069-1071).



10. NIA NEWS RELEASE: "Diabetes Among Older Adults Imposed an Estimated $133.5 Billion Cost in 1990's" (US National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging, Nov. 15, 2004).

11. KFF SURVEY: "National Survey on Consumers' Experiences With Patient Safety and Quality Information" (Kaiser Family Foundation, November 2004, summary and chartpack, .pdf format, 53p., toplines, .pdf format, 24p.). "This survey assesses Americans' perceptions about the quality of health care, their awareness and reported usage of information in making their health care choices, and their experiences with their health care providers five years after the Institute of Medicine's landmark report on medical errors. The Kaiser Family Foundation, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Harvard School of Public Health collaborated on the survey."

12. TEXAS HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES COMMISSION REPORT: "Executive Order RP 33 Relating to Reforming the Adult Protective Services Program" (Health and Human Services Commission, November 15, 2004, HTML and .pdf format, 66p.).

13. _BMJ_ NEWS EXTRA: "NHS agrees 7% price reduction for prescription drugs for next five years," by Susan Mayor (_British Medical Journal_, Vol. 329, No. 7475, Nov. 13, 2004).


A. "Role of Toll-like Receptor 4 in Acute Myocardial Infarction and Longevity," by Carmela Rita Balistreri, Giuseppina Candore, Giuseppina Colonna-Romano, Domenico Lio, Marco Caruso, Enrico Hoffmann, Claudio Franceschi, and Calogero Caruso (_Journal of the American Medical Association_, Vol. 292, No. 19, Nov. 17, 2004, p. 2339-2340).

B. "Is PSA Testing Still Useful?" by Mike Mitka (_Journal of the American Medical Association_, Vol. 292, No. 19, Nov. 17, 2004, p. 2326-2327).


A. "Taking The Plunge: On the way to his vision of an "ownership society," [...] Bush picks a big fight over Social Security," by Daniel Kadlec (_Time_, Vol. 164, No. 21, Nov. 22, 2004).,9171,1101041122-782131,00.html

B. "Why Canada Won't Be Our Pharmacy: Importing cheaper drugs from up north isn't as simple as it seems," by Jyoti Thottam (_Time_, Vol. 164, No. 21, Nov. 22, 2004).,9171,1101041122-782144,00.html

16. US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT ARTICLE: "Brain drain: Half of all federal workers can retire in five years. will government be able to replace them?" by Leonard Wiener (_US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT_, Nov. 22, 2004).

III. Working Papers:


A. "Back to Work: Trends in Post-Retirement Employment," by Nicole Maestas (WP 2004-085, July 2004, .pdf format, 45p.).


Retirement is often modeled as an absorbing state. But in fact, many people return to paid work after they retire--that is, they unretire. Despite an extensive literature on retirement behavior, little is known about unretirement. An individual might go back to work out of economic necessity or for non-pecuniary reasons. For example, people might return to work in order to maintain consumption if they suffer financial shocks or if they failed to plan well. Others might return to work simply because they do not enjoy retirement as much as they expected. From the standpoint of policy interest, whether unretirement is beneficial or detrimental for retirees depends on why people go back to work. In this project, I propose to establish a basic understanding of post-retirement labor supply. I will use the HRS to evaluate how common unretirement is and explore what specific features of the household economic environment are correlated with unretirement. In addition, I will document trends over time using successive panels of the SIPP.

Working Paper link is at the bottom of the abstract.

B. "The Social Security Retirement Earnings Test, Retirement, Benefit Claiming, and the Effects of Abolishing the Earnings Test with and without Individual Accounts," by Alan L. Gustman and Thomas L. Steinmeier (WP 2004-090, September 2004, .pdf format, 37p.).


This project will use data from the Health and Retirement Study to investigate how the Social Security retirement earnings test affects retirement behavior, benefit claiming and retirement incomes; the effects of abolishing the earnings test between early entitlement and full retirement ages; and how the earnings test will affect these outcomes if proposals made by The President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security were to be enacted into law. Research Questions: How does the Social Security earnings test affect retirement behavior, benefit claiming and retirement incomes? How will these outcomes change if the Social Security reforms proposed by The President's Commission are enacted into law?

Working Paper link is at the bottom of the abstract.

C. "Grasshoppers, Ants and Pre-Retirement Wealth: A Test of Permanent Income Consumers," by Erik Hurst (WP 2004-088, September 2004, .pdf format, 49p.).

This paper shows that households who enter retirement with low wealth consistently followed non-permanent income consumption rules during their working years. Using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), household wealth in 1989 is predicted for a sample of 50-65 year olds using both current and past income, occupation, demographic, employment, and health characteristics. Using the residuals from this first stage regression, the sample of pre-retired households is subsetted into households who save "lower" than predicted and all other households. By construction, these households had similar opportunities to save; the average household in both these sub-samples are very similar along all observable income and demographic characteristics. It is then shown that households in the low wealth residual sample had much larger declines in consumption upon retirement. Such a result is consistent with the household having inadequately planned for retirement. The panel component of the PSID is then used to analyze the consumption behavior of these households early in their life cycle. It is shown that these low pre-retirement wealth households had consumption growth that responded to predictable changes in income during their early working years. No such behavior was found among the other pre-retired households. Moreover, the low wealth residual households responded both to predictable income increases as well as predictable income declines, a result that is inconsistent with a liquidity constraints explanation. After ruling out other theories of consumption to explain these facts, it is concluded that households who entered retirement with lower than predicted wealth consistently followed near sighted consumption plans during their working lives.

D. "Using a Structural Retirement Model to Simulate the Effect of Changes to the OASDI and Medicare Programs," by John Bound and Timothy A. Waidman (WP 2004-091, .pdf format, 75p.). Note: There is also a link to a Conference Paper of the same title given at the Sixth Annual Conference of Retirement Research Consortium "The Future of Social Security," held Aug. 12-13 2004 in Washington, DC (.pdf format, 18p.).


We will use a dynamic programming model estimated with data from the Health and Retirement Study to simulate the behavioral effects of various reforms to the OASDI and Medicare programs. Among the reforms we will simulate are changes in the normal retirement age, changes in the age of eligibility for Medicare benefits, and changes in the strictness of the medical evaluation of applicants for DI benefits. Along with the behavioral effects of such changes, we will be interested in the effects on the distribution of family incomes among households with members nearing retirement age.

Links to both papers are at the bottom of the abstract.


A. "The Well-Being of Retirees: Evidence Using Subjective Data," by Keith A. Bender (WP 2004-24, November 2004, .pdf format, 28p.).


While previous economic research focuses on the financial well-being of retirees, this paper examines the determinants of overall well-being of retirees. Using data from the 2000 Health and Retirement Study, the strongest predictor of retirement well-being is the reason for entering retirement. If individuals were "forced" to retire, their well-being is significantly lower than those who chose to retire. This indicates the importance of expectations on retirement satisfaction. Additionally, health, current income, and comparison retirement income have important roles in determining overall well-being.

B. "Sliding into Poverty? Cross-National Patterns of Income Source Change and Income Decay in Old Age," by James M. Williamson and Timothy M. Smeeding (WP 2004-25, November 2004, .pdf format, 44p.).


This article examines the change in the mix of income and benefits that older adults receive as they age, with a focus on older women. The study is a cross-national comparison of five OECD countries using the Luxemburg Income Study database. We investigate the change of private income and social benefits following synthetic cohorts for two decades. These results reveal that older women rely heavily on socially provided benefits for a majority of their income, and these benefits are primarily responsible for whether older women find themselves in poverty or not. Older men and women in countries with relatively generous (or well targeted) social retirement and social transfer benefits have lower levels of poverty. Housing appears to be a particularly important factor. Older homeowners are less likely to be in poverty than renters. As the value of homes and homeownership increase, housing will become an especially important source of support in old age.

C. "Why Don't Americans Save?" by Barry Bosworth (WP 2004-26, November 2004, .pdf format, 34p.).


This paper provides an examination of the decline in the household saving rate over the past two decades from both the macroeconomic and microeconomic perspectives. Between 1980-84 and 2000-04 private saving fell more than 8 percentage points of U.S. GDP. At the aggregate level, about 40 percent of the fall in the household saving rate occurred within contractual retirement accounts, that is, within employer-sponsored and individual retirement plans. Moreover, much of the drop in discretionary saving occurred before the sharp rise in equity and home values in the late 1990s. The paper examines the potential scope of a number of other explanations for the fall in aggregate saving, such as the drop in inflation, increased capital gains on wealth, and alternative treatments of consumer durables as investment. Lower rates of inflation do emerge as a possible cause of the drop in measured saving, but the other factors do not seem consistent with the observed timing of the decline. The microeconomic section explores the feasibility of using information from successive Surveys of Consumer Finances (SCF) to follow the wealth accumulation of specific age cohorts over the period of most dramatic change in aggregate saving. For many components of wealth, the surveys are very similar to the corresponding aggregates of the flow of funds accounts (FFAs), but there are important discrepancies for corporate equities that become particularly large for the 2001 survey. The discrepancies in the nominal wealth are magnified when the two estimates are adjusted for capital gains, yielding substantially different estimates of household saving. The paper reports on some efforts to benchmark the SCF to the FFAs, using the distributional information of the SCF to provide an added dimension to the FFA data. The resulting microeconomic data indicate a widespread drop in saving that cannot be associated with any specific group of households.

D. "How Do Pensions Affect Expected and Actual Retirement Ages? by Alicia H. Munnell, Robert K. Triest, and Natalia A. Jivan (WP 2004-27, November 2004, .pdf format, 22p.).


This paper uses the first six waves of the Health and Retirement Study to investigate the impact of pensions on expected retirement age, on the probability of being retired in each wave given employment in the previous wave, and on the probability of retiring earlier than planned. Pension coverage per se and the type of pension are important in each case. Pension wealth reduces the expected retirement age by 0.6 year, and the incentives in defined benefit plans lower the expected age by another 1.1 years. Pension wealth increases the probability of retiring in a given wave, and pension accruals reduce the probability. Other characteristics of defined benefit plans, as measured by the pension dummy, further raise the probability of being retired. Finally, with regard to the probability of retiring earlier than planned, a change in defined contribution wealth increases the probability, but pension coverage per se reduces it. That is, those with pensions tend to be more accurate planners than those without.

19. NBER: "The Social Security Retirement Earnings Test, Retirement and Benefit Claiming," by Alan L. Gustman and Thomas L. Steinmeier (National Bureau of Economic Research, w10905, November 2004, .pdf format, 37p.).


This paper introduces the age at which Social Security benefits are claimed as an additional outcome in a structural model of retirement and wealth. The model is then used to simulate the effects of abolishing the remainder of the Social Security earnings test, between age 62 and the full retirement age. Estimates are based on data for married men from the first six waves of the Health and Retirement Study. From age 62 through the full retirement age, the earnings test reduces the share of married men who work full time by about four percentage points, which entails a reduction of about ten percent in the number of married men of that age at full time work. In terms of the cash flow of the system, abolishing the earnings test would have an adverse effect, at least initially. If the earnings test were abolished between the early and full retirement ages, the share of married men claiming Social Security benefits would increase by about 10 percentage points, and the average benefit payments would increase by about $1,800 per recipient. The initial increase in benefit payments would eventually be reversed, over a time span of decades, because the annual benefit amounts would eventually be reduced by more than an actuarially fair amount due to the earlier collection of benefits. One can increase the employment of older persons either by abolishing the earnings test or by increasing the early entitlement age under Social Security. A major difference on the funding side is that abolishing the earning test results in an earlier flow of benefit payments from Social Security, worsening the cash-flow problems of the system, while increasing the early entitlement age delays the flow of benefit payments from the system, improving its liquidity.

Click on "PDF" or submit your email address for full text.


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

20. American Economic Review (Vol. 94, No. 4, September 2004). Note: Full electronic text of this journal is available in the ProQuest research library and the EBSCO Host Academic Search Elite Database. Check your library for the availability of this database and this issue.

Note: This is a temporary address. When the next AER table of contents is released, this one will be available at:

21. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (Vol. 52, No. 11,12, November, December 2004).

22. Medical Care (Vol. 42, Nos. 10,11, October, November 2004).

Click on "October 2004" or "November 2004" for tables of contents.

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

A. Point your browser to:

B. click on "advanced search"
C. Type in your publication name and click "Exact title" radio button
D. Under "Show", click the "fax/ariel" radio button.
E. View the table of contents for the issue noted.

Ageing and Society (Vol. 24, No. 5, 2004).

Canadian Journal on Aging (Vol. 23, No. 3, 2004).

International Psychogeriatrics (Vol. 16, No. 3, 2004).

Journal of Gerontological Social Work (Vol. 43, No. 2/3, 2004).

Omega: Journal of Death and Dying (Vol. 49, No. 3, 2004).

24. 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 Nov. 17, 2004:

B. Alzheimer's Disease: Literature for the week of Nov. 17, 2004:

C. Parkinson's Disease: Literature for the week of Nov. 17, 2004:

D. Prostate Cancer: Literature for the week of Nov. 17, 2004:

AMADEO Literature Guide:


V. Funding Opportunities:

25. CAROLINA PROGRAM IN HEALTHCARE AND AGING RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP: "The Carolina Program in Healthcare and Aging Research (CPHAR) program, based at the UNC Institute on Aging, announces an opening for a new postdoctoral fellowship position for the 2005 fiscal year (with anticipated renewal for a second funding year)." For more information, including a link to details about the program and application procedures see:


VI. Legislation Information Updates:

26. US SENATE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON AGING HEARING TESTIMONY: "Liability, Licensing and the Flu Vaccine Market: Making Decisions Today to Prevent a Crisis Tomorrow," a hearing held Nov. 16, 2004 (.pdf format). Note: a webcast of this hearing (RealPlayer format 1 hour 40 minutes 28 seconds) is available at the site.

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