Current Awareness in Aging Research (CAAR) Report #52--September 28, 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 DATA ALERT: The University of Michigan Institute for Social Research Health and Retirement Study (HRS) / Asset and Health Dynamics Among the Oldest Old (AHEAD) website issued a Revised Data Alert for the AHEAD 1995 public release on Sep. 19, 2000.

2. CELADE: The CENTRO LATINOAMERICANO Y CARIBENO DE DEMOGRAFIA (CELADE) has released "Latin America: Population By Calendar Years and Single Ages 1950-2050," a series of .zip compressed Microsoft Excel Spreadsheets for all of Latin America and also for each of 20 countries. Note that ages are also aggregated by five year groupings and that they are topcoded at 80 +. These Tables are from CELADE _Demographic Bulletin_ #66.

3. IRS: The US Internal Revenue Service has released two tables (Microsoft Excel spreadsheet format) that may be of interest to researchers in aging:

A. Estate Tax Returns Filed in 1998: Gross Estate by Type of Property, Deductions, Taxable Estate, and Tax Credits by the Size of Gross Estate:

B. Estate Tax Returns File in 1998: Gross Estate, Total Deductions, State Death Tax Credit, and Estate Tax After Credits, by State of Residence:

4. ICPSR: The Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research has made available the National Center for Health Statistics' National Health Interview Survey 1997. (# 2954).

Note 1: This is a temporary address. ICPSR studies can always be found at:

Search on Study Number.

Note 2: This study is freely available to the public (after agreeing to a NCHS non-disclosure statement).


II. Reports and articles:

5. NASI REPORT: The US National Academy of Social Insurance, a "private, non-profit, non-partisan resource center made up of the nation's leading experts on social insurance" has released "Financing Medicare's Future," (Final Report of the Study Panel on Medicare's Long Term Financing, National Academy of Social Insurance, September 2000, HTML format).

Executive Summary Extract:

Despite enormous popularity, Medicare will require changes in its financing if the program is to continue to protect beneficiaries from the costs of illness. The need for new revenues is the result of rising health care costs, the impending retirement of the Baby Boom generation, and increasing longevity of the American population. In addition to changes to shore up Medicare's finances, policy makers are also considering whether to change the program's benefits or to restructure it in order to improve efficiency, to reflect changes in the delivery of health care, and/or to better meet beneficiaries' health care needs. Such proposals will affect how much money the program will require. This report describes options for financing Medicare beneficiaries' health care under several likely approaches for changing its structure and benefits. It is the final report of a nonpartisan study panel convened by the National Academy of Social Insurance. The 12 members of this NASI study panel represent a broad diversity of philosophical perspectives, disciplinary training, and professional experience.

Press Release:



A. "Medicare Home Health Care: Prospective Payment System Could Reverse Recent Declines in Spending" (US General Accounting Office GAO/HEHS-00-176, September 2000, .pdf format, 46p.).

B. "Medicare: HCFA Could Do More to Identify and Collect Overpayments" (US General Accounting Office GAO/HEHS/AIMD-00-304, September 2000, .pdf format, 48p.).

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:

Search on report number or title.

7. BLS ISSUES IN LABOR STATISTICS: Note: Issues in Labor Statistics are short .pdf format "background papers on current topics." "Spending Patterns By Age" (Summary 00-16, August 2000, 2p.).

8. _SCIENCE_ ARTICLE ABSTRACT: "Aging, Chromatin, and Food Restriction--Connecting the Dots," by Judith Campisi (_Science_, Vol. 289, No. 5487, Sep. 22, 2000). Note: Full electronic text (HTML and .pdf formats) may be available to your organization. Check your organization's library.


A. "Treatment of Dysthymia and Minor Depression in Primary Care: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Older Adults," by John W. Williams, Jr., James Barrett, Tom Oxman, Ellen Frank, Wayne Katon, Mark Sullivan, John Cornell, and Anjana Sengupta (_Journal of the American Medical Association_, Vol. 284, No. 12, Sep. 27, 2000, p. 1519-1526, HTML and .pdf formats).

B. "The Challenge of Depression in Late Life: Bridging Science and Service in Primary Care," by Joseph J. Gallo and James C. Coyne (_Journal of the American Medical Association_, Vol. 284, No. 12, Sep. 27, 2000, p. 1570-1572, HTML and .pdf formats). Note: This is a _JAMA_ editorial.

C. Medical News and Perspectives: "Promising Vaccine Treatment for Alzheimer Disease Found," by Charles Marwick (_Journal of the American Medical Association_, Vol. 284, No. 12, Sep. 27, 2000, p. 1503-1505, HTML and .pdf formats).

D. "End-of-Life Conversations: Evolving Practice and Theory," by Dale G. Larson and Daniel R. Tobin (_Journal of the American Medical Association_, Vol. 284, No. 12, Sep. 27, 2000, p. 1573-1578, HTML and .pdf formats).

10. _NEJM_ BOOK REVIEW: "Concepts of Alzheimer Disease: Biological, Clinical, and Cultural Perspectives," edited by Peter J. Whitehouse, Konrad Maurer, and Jesse F. Ballenger (341 p., illustrated, Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000, $55, ISBN 0-8018-6233-7), reviewed by A.M. Clarfield, (_New England Journal of Medicine_, Vol. 343, No. 13, Sep. 28, 2000, HTML format).

11. _FORBES_ ARTICLE: "Hard Sell: Pfizer aims Viagra at a younger crowd," by Robert Langreth (_Forbes_, Oct. 16, 2000).


III. Working Papers:

12. UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN POPULATION STUDIES CENTER: "Asset Ownership Across Generations," by Ngina S. Chiteji and Frank P. Stafford (PSC Research Report No. 00-454, September 2000, .pdf format, 41p.).


This paper examines cross-generational connections in asset ownership. We study the effect that parental ownership of individual assets has on their children's knowledge about assets and their portfolio choice decisions. The paper first presents a theoretical framework that develops the distinction between the intergenerational transfer of knowledge about financial assets and the direct transfer of dollars. It subsequently analyzes data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID). Our empirical research reveals that there is intergenerational correlation in asset ownership and that parental asset-ownership affects the probability of holding a bank account and the probability of owning stock.

13. NBER WORKING PAPER IN AGING: "Does the Social Security Earnings Test Affect Labor Supply and Benefits Receipt?" by Jonathan Gruber and Peter Orszag (National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper No. W7923, September 2000, .pdf format, 42p.).


The Social Security earnings test, a version of which still applies to those ages 62-64, reduces immediate payments to beneficiaries whose labor income exceeds a given threshold. Although benefits are subsequently increased to compensate for any such reduction, the earnings test is typically perceived as a tax on working. As a result, it is considered by many to be an important disincentive to paid work for older Americans. Yet there is little evidence to suggest an economically significant effect of the earnings test on hours of work, and almost no research on the effect of the test on the decision to work at all. We investigate these issues using the significant changes in the structure of the earnings test over the past 25 years, using data over the past 25 years, using data over the 1973-1998 period from the March Supplement to the Current Population Survey (CPS), which provide large samples of observations on the elderly. Our analysis suggests two major conclusions. First, the earnings test exerts no robust influence on the labor supply decisions of men. Neither graphical analyses of breaks in labor supply trends, nor regression estimates that control for underlying trends in labor supply by age group, reveal any significant impact of changes in earnings test parameters on aggregate employment, hours of work, or earnings for men. For women, there is more suggestive evidence that the earnings test is affecting labor supply decisions. Second, loosening the earnings test appears to accelerate benefits receipt among the eligible population, lowering benefits levels, and heightening concerns about the standard of living of these elderly at very advanced ages. Our findings suggest some cause for caution before rushing to remove the earnings test at younger ages.

Click on "PDF" at the bottom of the abstract for full text.

14. IIASA: "Health and Elderly Care Expenditure in an Aging World," by L.D. Mayhew (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis [Austria] Research Report IR-00-021, September 2000, .pdf format, 47p.).


The world's population is aging, albeit at different rates in different countries. The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) is building an economic--demographic model for exploring the consequences of population aging on the global economy. So far it has concentrated on impacts mediated through public and private pension systems. It now wishes to extend the model to cover other sectors whose provision is also highly age sensitive, including health and elderly care services. This report explores the consequences of population aging for these vital services and considers the basic mechanisms fueling their growth. These mechanisms fall into essentially two categories: The first is related to the biomedical processes of aging, which can lead to chronic illness and disability in old age. The second concerns the costs of treatment and long-term care, which in turn are a function of medical technology and institutional factors, how services are delivered, and who bears the costs. Using simple but explicit projection methodologies, we project health care and disability-related expenditure in two major world regions, corresponding to more developed countries (MDCs) and less developed countries (LDCs). The key policy-related conclusions are as follows: Aging will overtake population growth as the main demographic driver of health expenditure growth, but its effect will be less than that of technological and institutional factors. Health expenditure will expand rapidly in LDCs (relative to gross domestic product) to reach levels currently observed in MDCs. The number of people with disabilities will grow substantially, but will level out in MDCs by 2050 (earlier for all but the oldest age groups), while the number of people with disabilities in all age groups will continue to grow in LDCs. Assuming that most care for the disabled continues to be provided by the family and community, projected increases in disability-related expenditure are modest.

Click on PDF icon for full text.


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

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

Journal of Adult Development (Vol. 7, No. 3, July 2000).

Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (Vol. 48, No. 9, September 2000).

V. Books:

16. NBER: _Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the U.S._, edited by Robert Moffitt (National Bureau of Economic Research forthcoming book of papers from a conference held May 11-12, 2000. The following chapter has been added to this collection: "The Supplemental Security Income Program," by Richard V. Burkhauser and Mary C. Daly (.pdf format, 79p.).

Scroll to "The Supplemental Security Income Program."


VI. Legislation Information Updates:


A. "The Nursing Home Initiative: A Two-Year Progress Report," a hearing held Sep. 28, 2000).

Hearing Testimony:

B. "Pension Tension: Does the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation Deliver for Retirees?" a hearing held Sep. 21, 2000.

Hearing Testimony:

18. HOUSE COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS, SOCIAL SECURITY SUBCOMMITTEE: "Social Security Notices," a hearing held Sep. 26, 2000.

Hearing Testimony:


VII. Websites of Interest:

19. AGING AND DEATH IN FOLKLORE: University of Pittsburgh Emeritus Professor D.L. Ashliman offers this essay, part of a larger folklore and mythology electronic texts website, that covers such topics as: aging, realism and resignation expressed in proverbs; widowhood; why old people are no longer put to death; and death as a divine release, among others. Short quotes or summaries are given in most cases.

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