Current Awareness in Aging Report (CAAR) #4, October 7, 1999

I. Data:

1. CENSUS BLS FERRET: Census and BLS' FERRET Extraction System has made the March 1999 Current Population Survey Annual Demographic Summary raw ASCII data available for download from its FTP site. Data is available in UNIX .Z and .gz, as well as DOS .zip compressed formats. An electronic data dictionary is available as well. Note that this site does not include complete technical documentation.

The file is also available on media (CD-ROM or magnetic tape) from the Census Bureau. This file includes complete technical documentation. Note that technical documentation can be ordered separately from the Bureau. See:

for more details.

2. ICPSR: Between September 30, 1999 and October 7, 1999, the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research added eleven studies to its holdings. Of possible interest are:


Contact your ICPSR campus Official Representative to obtain these files.

3. HRS/AHEAD: The University of Michigan Institute for Social Research HRS/AHEAD project has made an announcement with respect to the release of AHEAD Wave 2 data. "We have decided not to process AHEAD Wave 2 [1995] in two partial releases. We are instead attempting to have the entire dataset ready for public release in November." For more information see:

4. GPO--The Government Printing Office has made available on CD-ROM the 1997 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey. For more information, including pricing see:


II. Reports and Articles

5. JAMA FULL TEXT: Full Text of the _Journal of the American Medical Association_ is available for a limited time from the JAMA web site. The current issue is for October 6, 1999. All of the issues for 1999 are presently available.

6. NCHS REPORT: The National Center for Health Statistics has released "Births and Deaths: Preliminary Data for 1998," by Joyce A. Martin, Betty L. Smith, T.J. Matthews, and Stephanie Ventura (National Vital Statistics System Vol. 47, No. 25, .pdf format, 46p.)


III. Working Papers


A. "Social Security's Treatment of Postwar Americans: How Bad Can It Get?" by Jagadeesh Gokhale and Laurence J. Kotlikoff (W7362, September 1999,
.pdf format, 76p.).

>From the Abstract:

As currently legislated, the U.S. Social Security System represents a bad deal for postwar Americans. Of every dollar postwar Americans have earned or will earn over their lifetimes, over 5 cents will be lost to the Old Age Survivor Insurance System (OASI) in the form of payroll taxes paid in excess of benefits received. This lifetime net tax rate can also be understood by comparing the rate of return postwar contributors receive from OASI and the return they can earn on the market. The OASI return -- 1.86 percent -- is less than half the return currently being paid on inflation-indexed long-term government bonds, and the OASI return is much riskier. Of course, Social Security is an insurance as well as a net tax system. But, viewed as an insurance company, the insurance OASI sells (or, rather, forces households to buy) is no bargain. The load charged averages 66 cents per dollar of premium. These findings, developed in an extensive micro simulation study by Caldwell, et al. (1999), assume that current law can be maintained through time. But Social Security faces a staggering long-term funding problem. Meeting the system's promised benefit payments on an ongoing basis requires raising the OASDI 10.8 tax rate immediately and permanently by two fifths! How bad can Social Security's treatment of postwar Americans get once adjustments are made to save' the system? This paper examines that question using the machinery developed in Caldwell, et al. Specifically, it considers Social Security's treatment of postwar Americans under alternative tax increases and benefit cuts that would help bring the system's finances into present value balance. The alternatives include immediate tax increases, eliminating the ceiling on taxable payroll, immediate and sustained benefit cuts, increasing the system's normal retirement ages beyond those currently legislated, switching from wage to price indexing in calculating benefits, and limiting the price indexation of benefits. The choice among these and other alternatives have important consequences for which postwar generations and which members of those generations will be forced to pay for the system's long-term financing problems. The address below links to the abstract and the full text paper.

B. "What People Don't Know About Their Pensions and Social Security: An Analysis Using Linked Data from the Health and Retirement Study," by Alan L. Gustman and Thomas L. Steinmeier (W7368, September 1999, .pdf format, 75p.).

>From the Abstract:

Pension plan descriptions from respondents to the 1992 Health and Retirement Study are compared with descriptions obtained from their employers. Earnings histories reported by respondents are compared with earnings histories from the Social Security Administration. The probability of linking employer pension data, which is two thirds for current jobs, and of obtaining permission to link an earnings history, which is over 70 percent, are not well explained by respondent characteristics. Half of respondents with linked pension data correctly identify plan type, and fewer than half identify, within one year, dates of eligibility for early and normal retirement benefits. Benefit reduction rates are essentially not reported. Respondents do better in reporting pension values, but the unexplained variation is still considerable. In contrast, respondent reported values, together with other observables, account for 80 percent of the variation in pension values and 75 percent
of the variation in covered earnings measured from linked records. Thus prospects are good for imputing plan values, but not for imputing the location or size of early retirement incentives. Our findings raise questions about how well respondents understand complex pension and Social Security rules. The address below links to the abstract and the full text paper.

8. PRINCETON UNIVERSITY OFFICE OF POPULATION RESEARCH: "Pathways to Retirement: Patterns of Labor Force Participation and Labor Market Exit among the Pre-Retirement Population by Race, Hispanic Origin, and Sex," by Chenoa Flippen and Marta Tienda (WP 99-01, .pdf format, 51p.).

>From the Abstract:

This paper examines the pre-retirement labor force participation behavior of black, white, and Hispanic men and women to determine how patterns of labor market exit differ among groups. Methods: We combine data from the first and second waves of the Health and Retirement Study and apply multinomial logit regression techniques to model labor force status in the first wave of the HRS and change over time. Results: Black, Hispanic, and female elderly persons experience more involuntary job separation in the years immediately prior to retirement and the resulting periods of joblessness often eventuate in retirement or labor force withdrawal. Minority disadvantage in human capital, health, and employment characteristics account for a large part of racial and ethnic differences in labor force withdrawal. Nevertheless, black men and Hispanic women experience more involuntary labor market exits than whites with similar socio-economic and demographic characteristics.

9. UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN POPULATION RESEARCH CENTER WORKING PAPER: "The Impacts of HIV/AIDS on Older Populations in Developing Countries: Some Observations based upon the Thai Case," by Mark VanLandingham, John Knodel, Wassana Im-em, and Chanpen Saengtienchai (PSC Research Report No. 99-441, October 1999, .pdf format, 27p.).

>From the Abstract:

We describe features of the older population and the history of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Thailand, and discuss potential links between them. We address both direct and indirect impacts of AIDS upon the Thai older population, but focus our discussion on how older persons could be indirectly affected by AIDS infections occurring among their adult children. We identify five major mechanisms through which these indirect effects can occur: via finances, health, time commitments, social relationships, and emotional status. We discuss the possible mediating influences of the distribution of AIDS infections, access to health care, and differentials in remittance and return behaviors on these five mechanisms.  We then propose a research agenda for exploring the impact of AIDS upon older persons in developing countries, drawing upon our current research project on this topic in Thailand. We suggest a number of substantive areas that warrant investigation, and discuss the advantages and weaknesses of a number of methodologies that could be used to pursue these topics.

10. TILBURG UNIVERSITY (NETHERLANDS) CENTER FOR ECONOMIC RESEARCH DISCUSSION PAPERS: "Aging Anxiety: Much Ado About Nothing?" by M. Butler and G. Kirchsteiger (September, 1999, .pdf or postscript format, 36p.)

>From the Abstract:

Social security systems in most industrialized countries face severe financial problems due to adverse demographic changes. The increase in old-age dependency, however, will be spread over a period of approximately 50 years. The degree of technological progress necessary to offset the negative effects of aging might therefore be small. Using models with endogenous labor supply and with capital accumulation, we demonstrate that under plausible assumptions, current living standards can be maintained with a moderate rate of technological progress. The necessary rate of growth increases both in the size of the program and in the fraction of agents who exclusively depend on public pensions in retirement.


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

11. _American Journal of Public Health_ (Vol. 89, No. 10, October 1999)

Selected Abstracts of the issue

12. _Abstracts in Social Gerontology_ (Vol. 42, No. 3, September 1999). This publication is available electronically in full text via ProQuest Research Library. Check your Academic or Special Library for availability.

13. _Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics_ (Vol. 29, No. 2, 1999)

and click on: Tables of Contents on the left side of the screen.

14. CARL Uncover Journal Tables of Contents. Follow the instructions below to access tables of contents. Sorry for any inconvenience, but licensing restrictions do not allow me to pass the tables of contents to you, and database driven URLs are dynamic and will not work from one machine to the next.

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

_Journal of Health and Social Behavior_ (September 1999, Vol. 40, No. 3)
_American Economic Review_ (September 1999, Vol. 89, No. 4)
_American Sociological Review_ (August 1999, Vol. 64, No. 4).


V. Legislation Information Updates

15. US SENATE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON AGING: Testimony was taken before the USSSCA in Cranston, RI October 4, 1999 regarding "Long-term Care and the Role of Family Caregivers: A Rhode Island Perspective." Testimony was taken from six witnesses, including Jeanette C. Takamura, Assistant Secretary for Aging, Administration on Aging.


VI. Websites of Interest

16. SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION OFFICE OF THE CHIEF ACTUARY: This site, a small part of the larger SSA site, contains much interesting
information. Highlight of the site is its publications page, which contains electronic full text of "Status of the Social Security and Medicare Programs," "1997-1999 Annual Reports of the SSI Program," and selected statistical tables. Also available are complete listings of the Office's _Actuarial Studies_ and _Actuarial Notes_ publications. While _AS_ and _AN_ are just beginning to be made electronically available, print copies are freely available to anyone who fills out an electronic request form at the site. Under _AS_ users can find a complete listing of the Office's long time series, presently known as _Social Security Area Population Projections_, which goes back to _US Illustrative Population Projections, 1946_. In addition, the OCA site offers a Windows PC program (which must be downloaded and installed on the desktop) which allows a Social Security Benefit estimate to be calculated. A user's guide and source code are also provided.

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