Current Awareness in Aging Research (CAAR) Report #55--October 19, 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. CENSUS BUREAU: The US Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics have recently added the Current Population Survey Annual Demographic Survey (March Supplement) for 2000 to their FERRET extraction system:

The dataset can be downloaded directly (in three different compression formats) from the FERRET FTP site. An electronic data dictionary is also available:


II. Reports and articles:

2. _DEMOGRAPHIC RESEARCH ARTICLE_: Note: _Demographic Research_ is "a free, expedited, peer-reviewed journal of the population sciences... published by the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research." "Frailty Modelling for Adult and Old Age Mortality: The Application of a Modified DeMoivre Hazard Function to Sex Differentials in Mortality," by Hans-Peter Kohler and Iliana Kohler (Vol. 3, No. 8, October 2000, HTML and .pdf format, 32p.).


Unobserved differences in individuals susceptibility to death are an important aspect in the analysis of contemporary mortality patterns. However, observed mortality rates at adult ages, which are usually well-described by a Gompertz curve, are often perceived inconsistent with frailty models of mortality. We therefore propose a modified DeMoivre hazard function that is suitable for the application of frailty models to adult and old ages. The proposed hazard increases faster than exponential, and when combined with unobserved frailty it can capture a broad range of patterns encountered in the analysis of adult mortality. Our application to Bulgaria during 1992-93 suggests that the stronger selection process in the male population, caused by an overall higher level of mortality, may constitute a primary mechanism leading to the convergence of male and female mortality at higher ages. Hence, the convergence between male and female mortality is not necessarily caused by a differential process of aging across sexes, but is merely a consequence of the different levels of mortality at adult ages.

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

3. SSA NEWS RELEASE: "Social Security Commissioner Kenneth S. Apfel Announces 3.5 Percent Social Security Increase," (Oct. 18, 2000). Note: At the bottom of the news release there is a link to a fact sheet showing "the effect of the various automatic adjustments."

4. FISCAL POLICY INSTITUTE REPORT: "Impossible Choices: Food and Housing or Prescription Drugs?" (October 2000, .pdf format, 57p.). The Fiscal Policy Institute "is part of a consortium of state-level organizations from throughout the U.S. that were selected through a national competition to be part of the State Fiscal Analysis Initiative. The goal of this Initiative, which is supported by the Ford, Charles Stewart Mott, and Annie E. Casey Foundations, is to enhance the timeliness, credibility, accessibility and usefulness of the analysis that is available on the broad range of state tax and budget issues that affect low-income and other vulnerable populations." "This report was prepared by the Fiscal Policy Institute for USAction, the nation's largest consumer organization. It examines how rising prescription drug prices are affecting the household budgets and living standards of older Americans."

5. BOSTON COLLEGE CENTER FOR RETIREMENT RESEARCH ISSUES BRIEF: "How Would Financial Risk Affect Retirement Income Under Individual Accounts?" by Gary Burtless (IB #5, October 2000, .pdf format, 12p.).

Executive Summary Excerpt:

A popular proposal for reforming Social Security is to supplement or replace traditional publicly financed benefits with a new system of mandatory, defined contribution private pensions. Proponents claim that private plans offer better returns than traditional Social Security. To achieve higher returns, however, contributors are exposed to extra risks associated with financial market fluctuations. This issue in brief offers evidence on the extent of these risks by considering the hypothetical pensions U.S. workers would have obtained during the past century if they had accumulated retirement savings in individual accounts.

Click on "For full paper in PDF format, click here" for full text.

6. HHS OIG OAS REPORT: "Follow-Up Audit of Medicare Clinical Laboratory Tests Performed by Independent Clinical and Physician Laboratories" (US Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General Office of Audit Services A-01-99-00522, October 2000, .pdf format, 27p.).

Executive Summary:

A prior audit showed that Medicare carriers overpaid independent clinical and physician laboratories about $50.2 million for chemistry, hematology, and urinalysis tests during the 2-year period ended June 30, 1995. Our follow-up audit showed that while significant improvements have occurred (overpayments decreased to about $31.2 million for such tests for the 2 -year period ended December 31, 1997), certain carriers still did not have adequate procedures and controls (including edits) to detect and prevent inappropriate payment for laboratory tests. In addition to financial adjustments, we recommended that the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) ensure carriers implement controls adequate to preclude such overpayments. The HCFA concurred with our recommendations.

Click on "Complete Text of Report" for full text.

7. HHS NEWS RELEASE: "HHS [US Department of Health and Human Services] announces Medicare Premium and Deductible Rates for 2001" (Oct. 18, 2000).

8. GAO REPORT: "Nursing Homes: Sustained Efforts Are Essential to Realize Potential of the Quality Initiatives" (US General Accounting Office Report GAO/HEHS-00-197, September 2000, .pdf format, 88p.).

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.

9. SSA OCA ACTUARIAL NOTES: "Projected Demise of the Special Minimum PIA," by Craig A. Feinstein (US Social Security Administration Office of the Chief Actuary, Actuarial Notes #143, October 2000, HTML format).

10. HUD REPORT: "Report to Congress: Evaluation of the HOPE for Elderly Independence Demonstration Program and the New Congregate Housing Services Program" (US Department of Housing and Urban Development, 2000). Note: This report is not available electronically at this time. For information on how to order a copy ($5), as well as more information about the report, see:

11. ILCUSA NEWSLETTER: The International Longevity Center, USA, "a not-for-profit, non-partisan research and education organization," has released its _Public Policy Update_ for September 2000 (.pdf format, 8p.).


A. "Isolation of a 250 million-year-old halotolerant bacterium from a primary salt crystal," by Russell H. Vreeland, William D. Rosenzweig, and Dennis W. Powers (_Nature_, Vol. 407, No. 6806, Oct. 19, 2000, p. 897-900). Note: Full electronic text (HTML and .pdf format) may be available to your organization. Check your organization's library.

B. "Microbiology: A case of bacterial immortality?" by John Parkes (_Nature_ News and Views, Vol. 407, No. 6806, Oct. 19, 2000, HTML and .pdf format, p. 844).

13. _INFECTIONS IN UROLOGY_ VIA MEDSCAPE: Note: Medscape requires free registration before providing articles. "Urinary Tract Infection in the Elderly Patient," by Irving H. Gomolin, and Jack D. McCue (_Infections in Urology_, Vol. 13, No. 5 Supplement, September/October 2000, HTML format).


14. _NEJM_ SOUNDING BOARD: "The Republican and Democratic Candidates Speak on Health Care" (_New England Journal of Medicine_, Vol. 343, No. 16, Oct. 19, 2000).

15. _THE LANCET_ ARTICLE: "Ginkgo not effective for memory loss in elderly," by Wim Weber (_The Lancet_, Vol. 356, No. 9238, Oct. 14, 2000, p. 1333, HTML and .pdf format). Note: This article is available free of charge.

16. AARP PRIME TIME RADIO: "Finding Care On-Line," (AARP Prime Time Radio, Oct. 3, 2000). "There are several Internet sites available now that offer valuable advice and help for people searching for care for their loved ones. They list evaluations of nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, give tips on what to look for and what questions to ask when visiting potential care sites, and much more. Host Mike Cuthbert talks with representatives of two such places on the Web to find out how they work and how to use them." Note: this is an audio transcript and listeners will need the RealPlayer plug-in or helper application to hear it. Running time: 23 minutes, 56 seconds.

Scroll to "Finding Care On-Line" under 10/03/00 listings.


III. Working Papers:

17. RODNEY L. WHITE CENTER FOR FINANCIAL RESEARCH, WHARTON SCHOOL, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA: "The Effects of Investing Social Security Funds in the Stock Market When Fixed Costs Prevent Some Households from Holding Stocks," by Andrew B. Abel (Working Paper 09-00, July 1998, revised May 2000, .pdf format, 47p.).


With fixed costs of participating in the stock market, consumers with high income will participate in the stock market, but consumers with lower income will not participate. If a fully-funded defined-contribution social security system tries to exploit the equity premium by selling a dollar of bonds per capita and buying a dollar of equity per capita, consumers who save but do not participate in the stock market will increase their consumption, thereby reducing saving and capital accumulation. Calibration of a general equilibrium model indicates that this policy could reduce the aggregate capital stock substantially, by about 50 cents per capita.


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

18. Population and Development Review (Vol. 26, No. 3, September 2000). Note: Click on selected hyperlinked titles for abstracts.

19. 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

American Journal of Epidemiology (Vol. 152, No. 7, Oct. 1, 2000).

Educational Gerontology (Vol. 26, No. 6, 2000). Note: This journal is available in electronic full-text in the EBSCO Academic Search Elite Database. Check your library for the availability of this database and this issue.

Journal of Aging and Physical Activity (Vol. 8, No. 2, 3, April, July 2000).

Journal of Cross-cultural Gerontology (Vol. 15, No. 2, 2000).


V. Books:

20. NBER: _Frontiers in Health Policy Research, Volume 4_, edited by Alan M. Garber (forthcoming monograph, National Bureau of Economic Research, from a conference held June 14, 2000). The chapter "Public Financing and the Market for Long-Term Care," by Darius Lakdawalla and Tomas Philipson, (.pdf format, 27p.) has been made electronically available.


Concern about the effect of aging on long-term care has intensified, particularly since aging has been accompanied by several changes which spur long-term care output, including growth in demand subsidies, declining fertility rates, rising female labor-force participation, and the deregulation of entry barriers to the nursing home industry. This paper summarizes our previous work on how economic forces govern the demand or and supply of care, and extends it by discussing how they are affected by public subsidies or long-term care. Aging many times may lower the demand for market care by increasing the supply of family-provided care, which substitutes for market care. This effect appears to explain important trends in the output of long-term care over the past 30 years. We document the exponential growth of public financing over the past several decades and use our previous framework to argue that part of this growth would have occurred even if eligibility for public subsidies had been held constant. Private demand growth, by raising the private price of nursing home care, provides incentives for people to qualify f or public assistance and expands the share of total demand that is publicly financed. Endogenous eligibility and the private price pressure induced by aging have helped contribute to the explosion in Medicaid budgets.

Scroll to "Public Financing and the Market for Long-Term Care."


VI. Legislation Information Updates:

21. HOUSE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SUBCOMMITTEE ON HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT HEARING PUBLICATION: "Patient Access to Self-Injectable Prescription Drugs in the Medicare Program," (Printed Hearing #106-22, March 2000, ASCII text and .pdf format, 74p.).

Scroll to or "Find in Page" "106-122."

22. HOUSE COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS, SUBCOMMITTEE ON SOCIAL SECURITY HEARING PUBLICATION: "Social Security Program Integrity Activities" (Printed Hearing #106-38, March 2000, ASCII text and .pdf format, 58p.).

Scroll to or "Find in Page" "106-38."

23. HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE PUBLICATION: "Overview of Entitlement Programs 2000" (ASCII text and .pdf formats, searchable only at this time.) The US House Ways and Means Committee has "announced the release of the 2000 edition of the Committee print entitled 'Overview of Entitlement Programs,' informally known as the 'Green Book.' This document, prepared by the staff of the Committee on Ways and Means for the use of its Members and their staffs, has been revised and updated periodically since 1981. This book is primarily an overview of entitlement programs within the jurisdiction of the Committee. The Green Book integrates a description of each program with current data describing the population served by the program, an analysis of interactions with other programs, and historical information relating to each program. It also contains data and discussion on other matters of interest to the Committee, including trust funds, the budget, and immigration as well as a thorough study of the socioeconomic conditions of families and children. Finally, the document presents the most recent and relevant data on family income and wealth in this country." The searchable interface is provided via the Government Printing Office.

For information on ordering the book ($60) see:

A browsable version of the 1998 "Green Book" is available at:

Click on "Green Book."


VII. Websites of Interest:

24. UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO CPE UNION ARMY PROJECT: The University of Chicago Center for Population Economics has recently made available an extraction system for accessing its Union Army Data Set. "The Union Army Data Set consists of 35,747 white males mustered into the Union Army during the Civil War, for whom military, socio-economic, and medical information from several sources throughout their lifetimes has been collected." Note: Researchers must complete free registration before extracting data. For more information on the data see:

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