Current Awareness in Aging Research (CAAR) Report #32--May 4, 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. HRS/AHEAD: The University of Michigan Institute for Social Research Health and Retirement Study/Asset and Health Dynamics Among the Oldest Old website announced two "data alerts" on Apr. 28, 2000. They pertain to the availability of a " Preliminary Vital Status Update File." For more information see the data alerts under the April 28, 2000 "What's New" page at HRS/AHEAD.

2. ICPSR: The Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research released 14 studies between May 1 and May 3, 2000. Of possible interest to researchers in aging is:

UNITED STATES CENSUS OF MORTALITY: 1850, 1860, AND 1870 (Study # 2526).


and enter "2526" (without the quotes) in the "Study #" box.

Note that this study and its documentation (.pdf format) is freely available to the public.

II. Reports and articles


A. "In Contrast to Dolly, Cloning Resets Telomere Clock in Cattle," by Gretchen Vogel (_Science_, Apr. 28, 2000, Vol. 288, No. 5466, p. 586-587). Note: This article may be available in full electronic text (HTML format). Check your library for availability.

B. "Extension of Cell Life-Span and Telomere Length in Animals Cloned from Senescent Somatic Cells," by Robert P. Lanza, Jose B. Cibelli, Catherine Blackwell, Vincent J. Cristofalo, Mary Kay Francis, Gabriela M. Baerlocher, Jennifer Mak, Michael Schertzer, Elizabeth A. Chavez, Nancy Sawyer, Peter M. Lansdorp, and Michael D. West (_Science_, Apr. 28, 2000, Vol. 288, No. 5466, p. 665-669). Note: This article may be available in full electronic text (HTML and .pdf formats). Check your library for availability.


A. "Spain launches national plan for palliative care," by Xavier Bosch (_British Medical Journal_, Vol. 320, No. 7243, Apr. 29, 2000, p. 1162. HTML and .pdf formats).

B. "Do not resuscitate decisions: flogging dead horses or a dignified death?" by Shah Ebrahim (British Medical Journal_, Vol. 320, No. 7243, Apr. 29, 2000, p. 1155-1156. HTML and .pdf formats).

5. AARP REPORT: "Fixing to Stay A National Survey on Housing and Home Modification Issues," by Ada-Helen Bayer and Leon Harper (May 2000, .pdf format, 82p.).

>From the Executive Summary:

This report presents results from a nationwide survey of Americans age 45 and over, examining their opinions and behaviors on current and future housing situations--with an emphasis on home modifications that enable people to remain living independently in their own homes. The 2000 survey is the fifth in a series of AARP "Understanding Senior Housing" Studies. The survey populations have expanded gradually over the course of these studies. The 1986 survey polled people age 60 and over, the 1989 and 1992 surveys included people age 55 and over, and the 1996 survey questioned those age 50 and over. The 2000 survey is based on interviews with persons who are age 45 and over, to capture the opinions of the "baby boomer" age group. Respondents were asked about their current housing situation, housing preferences, difficulty getting around the house, concerns about being able to remain in their home, modifying their home, changes they have made or would like to make to their home, reasons for making those modifications, and reasons for not having made home modifications. Some of these substantive questions were repeated from previous surveys to make comparisons and examine trends. A series of questions was also asked to gather demographic characteristics about the respondents.

Click on "Download or view" for full text.

6. SSA REPORT: The Social Security Administration has released "Social Security Administrations Report on Supplemental Security Income Income and Resource Exclusions And Disability Insurance Earnings-Related Provisions" (March 2000, HTML and .pdf formats, 67p.).

>From the Executive Summary:

As required by Section 303(d) of the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999, this report identifies all income and resource disregards (exclusions) under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) programs. It analyzes selected exclusions and provides a range of options for their modification. It also discusses several issues pertaining to the SSI exclusion concerning educational grants, scholarships, and fellowships. Finally, it examines and presents options for selected earnings-related provisions in the DI program.


7. URBAN INSTITUTE ROUNDTABLE: The Urban Institute held a Roundtable discussion on Apr. 11, 2000 titled "Social Security in an Age of Uncertainty." "The annual report of the Social Security Board of Trustees, released on March 30, indicates that the long-range financial picture for Social Security has improved since last year.... How accurate is the report? How dependable are the long-term projections it cites? Does the report make reasonable assumptions about long-term trends in mortality and fertility? Does it adequately take into account the impact of improving productivity in the economy? What are the broad budgetary implications of the report and how should they impact policy? These are some of the questions experts on Social Security and fiscal policy sought to answer at an Urban Institute roundtable in early April. The session was hosted by Institute president Robert Reischauer and moderated by Howard Gleckman of Business Week magazine."

Click on "Full Transcript" for full transcript.

8. UNIRSD OCCASIONAL PAPER: The United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, as part of the Geneva 2000: The Next Step in Social Development Conference, to be held June 26-30, 2000, has released "The Political Economy of Pension Reform: Latin America in Comparative Perspective," by Evelyne Huber and John D. Stephens (OPG 7, May 2000, Microsoft Word Format, 65p.).

Scroll to "The Political Economy of Pension Reform..." at the bottom of the page.

9. CBO REPORT: The Congressional Budget Office has recently released "The Budgetary Treatment of Personal Retirement Accounts" (March 2000, HTML, .pdf, PostScript, and WordPerfect formats, 49p.).

>From the Executive Summary:

Several Members of Congress, groups, and individuals have proposed reforms to Social Security that would involve personal retirement accounts (PRAs). Some of those proposals would require workers or employers to make payments to PRAs. The compulsory payments would either replace or be in addition to current Social Security payroll taxes. Other proposals would allow workers to direct a portion of their Social Security payroll tax or federal income tax payments to PRAs or voluntarily contribute to the accounts from their own funds. Several proposals would have the government deposit funds into PRAs established for the workers' benefit. Social Security reforms that would involve PRAs generally would give individual workers some choice about how the money in their account was invested and would permit them to withdraw the funds after retirement. Under some proposals, the federal government would administer the PRAs; under others, the private sector would do so. This paper examines the issues related to the treatment of personal retirement accounts in the federal budget, focusing on proposals involving PRAs made during the 105th Congress, which was in session in 1997 and 1998.

Scroll to "The Budgetary Treatment of Personal Retirement Accounts." Other formats can be accessed at the bottom of the HTML report.


A. "The Real Drug War," by David Noonan with John Lauerman (_Newsweek_, May 8, 2000). Note: There is a related audio story with this story (QuickTime format).

B. "A Prescription for November," by Bill Turque (_Newsweek, May 8, 2000).


III. Working Papers


A. "Public Policy and Extended Families: Evidence from South Africa," by Marianne Bertrand, Douglas Miller, and Sendhil Mullainathan (W7594, March 2000, .pdf format, 47p.).

>From the Abstract:

Tightly knit extended families, in which people often give money to and get money from relatives, characterize many developing countries. These intra-family flows mean that public policies may affect a very different group of people than the one they target. To assess the empirical importance of these effects, we study a cash pension program in South Africa that targets the elderly. Focusing on three-generation households, we use the variation in pension receipt that comes from differences in the age of the elder(s) in the households. We find a sharp drop in the labor force participation of prime-age men in these households when elder women reach 60 years old or elder men reach 65, the respective ages for pension eligibility. We also find that the drop in labor supply diminishes with family size, as the pension money is split over more people, and with educational attainment, as the pension money becomes less significant relative to outside earnings. Other findings suggest that power within the family might play an important role: (1) labor supply drops less when the pension is received by a man rather than by a woman; (2) middle aged men (those more likely to have control in the family) reduce labor supply more than younger men; and (3) female labor supply is unaffected. These last two findings also respectively suggest that the results are unlikely to be driven by increased human capital investment or by a need to stay home to care for the elderly. As a whole, this public policy seems to have had large effects on a group-prime age men living with the old-quite different from the one it originally targeted-elderly men and women.

Click on "PDF" for full text.

B. "American Living Standards, 1888-1994: Evidence From Consumer Expenditures," by Dora L. Costa (W7650, April 2000, .pdf format, 31p.).

>From the Abstract:

I use micro data on food and recreation expenditures from 1888 to 1994 to provide the first estimates of overall CPI bias prior to the 1970s and new estimates of bias since the 1970s and to reassess long-run growth rates. I find that CPI bias was -0.1 percentage points per year between 1888 and 1919 and rose to 0.7 percentage points per year between 1919 and 1935. CPI bias was low in the 1950s and 0.3 percentage points per year in the 1960s and then rose to 2.7 percentage points per year between 1973 and 1982 before falling to 0.6 percentage points per year between 1983 and 1994. Inadequately accounting for the introduction of new consumer goods probably was the biggest source of bias between 1919 and 1935. Revised growth rates suggest that despite the Great Depression real per capita personal income was not falling but was rising by 0.5 percentage points per year between 1919 and 1935 and that growth rates were not stagnant in the 1970s but were almost as high as in the 1960s (4.0 and 3.2 in the 1960s and 1970s, respectively).

Click on "PDF" for full text.

C. "Tax Externalities of Equity Mutual Funds," by John B. Shoven, Joel Dickson, and Clemens Sialm (W7669, April 2000, .pdf format, 45p.).

>From the Abstract:

Investors holding mutual funds in taxable accounts face a classic externality. The after-tax return of their investment depends on the behavior of others. In particular, redemptions may force the mutual fund to sell some of its equity positions in order to pay off the liquidating investors. As a result, it may be forced to distribute taxable capital gains to its shareholders. On the other hand, new investors convey a positive externality upon existing investors by diluting the unrealized capital gain position of the fund. This paper's simulations show that these externalities are important determinants of the after-tax performance of equity mutual funds.

Click on "PDF" for full text.

D. "Induced Retirement, Social Security, and the Pyramid Mirage, by Casey B. Mulligan (W7679, April 2000, .pdf format, 47p.).

>From the Abstract:

Does Social Security redistribute across cohorts? Or is it a program for purchasing the jobs' of the elderly? I formalize both models, showing how they have some predictions in common, the most important of which is that generational accounts have the appearance of a "pyramid scheme." I also derive important differences between the two interpretations, and compare those differences with data on the design and incidence of Social Security programs around the world. Since implicit and explicit tax rates on elderly labor income are so high, and so closely (and positively) related with the amount of Social Security spending, and because substitution effects of the program can be as large as its wealth effects, I conclude that Social Security's induced retirement motive is much more important for explaining differences among European countries than is the intergenerational redistribution motive. Furthermore, when policy is at least in part designed to induce retirement, its generational incidence can be very different than the incidence of a pyramid scheme, even for those countries where the induced retirement motive is not the dominant one. The possibility of induced retirement also makes it difficult for perpetual intergenerational redistribution to be supported as a subgame perfect political equilibrium.

Click on "PDF" for full text.

E. "Can Monopoly Unionism Explain Publicly Induced Retirement?" by Casey B. Mulligan (W7680, April 2000, .pdf format, 26p.).

>From the Abstract:

It has long been suggested that trade unions take actions and favor public policies that reduce the quantity of labor so that union members might enjoy greater labor incomes. Can this explain the prevalence of generous public pension programs inducing retirement? I suggest not, by formalizing the monopoly unionism model and showing how labor's interest in reducing the quantity of labor cannot explain why the old are induced to retire rather than discouraging work among workers of all ages. Discouraging work of a subset of union workers introduces allocative inefficiencies without promoting the objectives of the monopoly union. And, unless the old have a disproportionate influence within the union, union interests cannot explain why public pension programs are so generous.

Click on "PDF" for full text.

12. UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN CENTER FOR DEMOGRAPHY AND ECOLOGY: "Living Arrangements of the Elderly, by Alberto Palloni (2000, .pdf format, 73p.). Note: This working paper was presented at the United Nations Technical Meeting on Population Ageing and Living Arrangements of Older People, New York, Feb. 8-10, 2000 (discussed in CAAR #19, Feb. 3, 2000

item # 14).

Working Paper:


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

13. Journal of Gerontology (A-Biological) (Vol. 55A, No. 3-5, March, April, May 2000). Note: This journal is available in electronic full text in the ProQuest Research Library. Check your library for the availability of this database and these issues.

14. Journal of Gerontology (A-Medical) (Vol. 55A, No. 3-5, March, April, May 2000). Note: This journal is available in electronic full text in the ProQuest Research Library. Check your library for the availability of this database and these issues.

15. 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 Journal of Aging and Human Development (Vol. 50, No. 2, 2000).

Research on Aging (Vol. 22, No. 3, May 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 this issue.


V. Books

16. ILO: The International Labor Organization has released _Social Security Pensions: Development and Reform_, edited by Colin Gillion, John Turner, Clive Bailey and Denis Latulippe (2000, ISBN 92-2-110859-7, 120 Swiss Francs).

Press Release:

Executive Summary (HTML and .pdf formats, 24p.).


VI. Legislation Information Updates

17. US SENATE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON AGING: Inviting Fraud: Has the Social Security Administration Allowed Some Payees to Deceive the Elderly and Disabled?, a hearing held May 2, 2000.

Hearing Testimony:

18. US HOUSE COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS HEARING PUBLICATION: "Medicare Coverage Decisions and Beneficiary Appeals" (Hearing No. 106-23, April 1999, HTML and .pdf formats, 133p.).

Scroll to Hrg. No. 106-23, at the bottom of the page.


VII. Websites of Interest

19. AOA OLDER AMERICANS MONTH--MAY 2000: The Administration on Aging has launched an Older Americans Month website that contains a Presidential Proclamation, factsheets on relevant topics (in various formats), and a link to the White House Older Americans Month website.

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