Current Awareness in Aging Research (CAAR) Report #57--November 2, 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. NCHS: The National Center for Health Statistics has posted (.pdf format) a "table of updates listing known items that need to be updated after the final release of the 1997 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) public use files. This affects both the 1997 NHIS CD-ROM (series 10, number 12A; released February 2000) and the 1997 NHIS data files and documentation that reside on the NHIS website (released 2/15/2000)... NCHS will soon provide "patch" data files that will provide the missing or replaced variables along with patch file documentation. Documentation items include inaccuracies in the file documentation, questionnaire, or the survey description document."

Click on "Table of Updates" for changes to data and documentation.

National Health Interview Survey:


II. Reports and articles:


A. "The Older Population in the United States: March 1999," by Denise Smith and Hava Tillipman (Population Characteristics, CPR P20-532, September 2000, .pdf format, 6 p.). Data are from the March 1999 Current Population Survey.

Press release that links to the report and 17 detailed tables (ASCII text format):

Report and tables are under #7 "Older (55+) Population" after you link to the "Age Data" page from the press release.

B. "The Black Population in the United States: March 1999," by Jesse McKinnon and Karen Humes (Population Characteristics, CPR P20-530, September 2000, .pdf format, 7p.). Data are from the March 1999 Current Population Survey.

Press release which links to the report and 17 detailed tables (ASCII text format):

3. _DEMOGRAPHIC RESEARCH_ ARTICLE: "Change in the Prevalence of Diseases among Older Americans: 1984-1994," by Eileen M. Crimmins and Yasuhiko Saito (_Demographic Research_, Vol. 3, No. 9, November 2000, HTML and .pdf format, 20p.). Note: _Demographic Research_ is "a free, expedited, peer-reviewed journal of the population sciences published by the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research."


The reported prevalence of diseases increased among older Americans in recent years. The largest increases have been in the proportion of the population with heart disease and cancer. There has also been a decrease in the number of older persons with no disease and an increase in the proportion of people with multiple conditions. The severity of disability among women with most diseases has been reduced; among men there has been no reduction in disability. Both the prevalence of diseases and the prevalence of disability are indicators of population health that result from a complicated process of disease and disability onset, survival probability and death rates for people with and without these health conditions. While change in disease prevalence and disability has been based on analysis of two surveys representative of the U.S. noninstitutionalized population taken ten years apart and designed to monitor health change, it is possible that changes in medical knowledge or service usage could play a role in increased reporting of disease presence.

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

4. SSA FACT SHEETS: "State Statistics as of December 1999 (HTML and .pdf format, 2p. per state).


"Fact sheets with Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Income (OASDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and earnings and employment data arranged by state and region. There is one fact sheet (2 pages) for each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands."

5. FEDERAL REGISTER FINAL RULE: "Medicare Program; Revisions to Payment Policies Under the Physician Fee Schedule for Calendar Year 2001; Final Rule" (Vol, 65, No. 212, Nov. 1, 2000, p. 65375-65603, HTML and .pdf format).

Scroll to or "find in page" "Medicare". Note: The rule is divided into five sections.

The rule and other material can also be found on the Health Care Financing Administration site (.pdf, Microsoft Word, and Microsoft Excel formats).

6. URBAN INSTITUTE REPORT: "Consumer-Directed Home and Community Services Programs in Five Countries: Policy Issues for Older People and Government," by Jane Tilly, Joshua M. Wiener, and Alison Evans Cuellar (_Urban Institute_, October 2000, HTML and .pdf format, 20p.). Note: "The Urban Institute is a nonprofit policy research organization established in Washington, D.C., in 1968. The Institute's goals are to sharpen thinking about society's problems and efforts to solve them, improve government decisions and their implementation, and increase citizens' awareness about important public choices."

HTML format:

.pdf format:

7. AARP ELECTION 2000 AD CAMPAIGN: AARP has created a web page that contains four print and/or radio advertisements (RealPlayer plug-in or helper application required for the radio advertisements) which the organization hopes will "focus on getting out the vote, Medicare prescription drugs, patient protections in managed care, and Social Security," and which "will appear in newspapers and air on radio stations nationwide."

8. _MEDSCAPE WOMEN'S HEALTH_ ARTICLE: "Risk Factors for Osteoporosis: Prevalence, Change, and Association With Bone Density," by Janet R. Guthrie, Peter R. Ebeling, Lorraine Dennerstein, and John D. Wark (_Medscape Women's Health_, Vol. 5, No. 5, September/October 2000, HTML format).

9. _BMJ_ NEWS ROUNDUP: "Statins may reduce risk of Alzheimer's disease," by Deborah Josefson (_British Medical Journal_, Vol. 321, No. 7268, Oct. 28, 2000, p. 1040, HTML format).

10. _US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT_ ARTICLE: "Alzheimer's first blow," by Rachel K. Sobel (_US News and World Report_, Nov. 6, 2000).

11. AARP PRIME TIME RADIO: Note: These are audio transcripts and listeners will need the RealPlayer plug-in or helper application to hear them. Running times are given at the end of each abstract.

A. October 17, 2000. "Suddenly - She is 60!" "Judith Viorst has turned 60 - and for her, a new decade sparks a new book of her irresistible poems, fortunately for the rest of us. So, again, one of our favorite guests joins Mike [Cuthbert] to read from: _Suddenly Sixty and other Shocks of Later Life_. It's sharp, irreverent, insightful and fun." Running time: 23 minutes 56 seconds.

B. October 17, 2000. "Empty Nest Marriage." "When the kids finally leave the nest, it should be an opportunity for couples to re-connect with each other, but it doesn't always work that way. David and Claudia Arp know the dangers of this particularly volatile time of life, and have strong, practical suggestions for strengthening and renewing the mid-life marriage. They talk with Mike Cuthbert about their ideas, as spelled out in their book: _Fighting for Your Empty Nest Marriage_. Running time: 32 minutes 10 seconds.

C. October 24, 2000. "Grieving, and Gaining Wisdom." "We will all encounter sadness, even tragedy in our lives, but the poets, philosophers, and the scientists all tell us it's how we deal with our suffering that defines and differentiates us. Dr. Kathleen Brehony believes we can be taught to turn tragedy into growth, even be enriched by it. She has written a remarkably astute, sensible and supportive book titled: _After the Darkest Hour: How Suffering Begins the Journey to Wisdom_, and she joins host Mike Cuthbert to elaborate. Running time: 30 minutes 8 seconds.

And scroll to the date and story.

12. _TIME_ ARTICLE: "It's not a lawyer joke. A growing corps of attorneys practice a kinder, gentler type of law for seniors," by Andrea Sachs (_Time_, Oct. 30, 2000).,3266,58402,00.html


III. Working Papers:

13. UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN POPULATION STUDIES CENTER: "Cognition and Wealth: The Importance of Probabilistic Thinking," by Lee A. Lillard and Robert J. Willis (PSC Research Report 00-455, October 2000, .pdf format, 49p.).


Proposed reforms of Social Security that expand household choice and private sector trends away from defined benefit pension plans toward defined contribution plans offer new financial planning options. Although these options have many potential benefits for households, critics argue that many people will fail to make choices that exploit them, and, consequently, that expanded choice will increase the risks of poverty for some populations. Subjective probabilities are key in models of optimal financial planning, yet little is known about the capacity of individuals to use probabalistic thinking in this area. In the research reported here, we used a battery of subjective probability questions administered to more than 20,000 people in the Health and Retirement Study to investigate how probabalistic thinking affects portfolio choices and net worth. Our objectives are to develop a measure of competence in probabilistic thinking and to link this measure to risk aversion and financial outcomes.

14. WHARTON SCHOOL (UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA) PENSION RESEARCH COUNCIL: The Warton School Pension Research Council has recently released the following working papers.

A. "Retirement Planning and the Asset/Salary Ratio," by Martin L. Leibowitz, J. Benson Durham, P. Brett Hammond, and Michael Heller (WP 2000-7, 2000, .pdf format, 39p.).

B. "Outcomes-Based Investing with Efficient Monte Carlo Simulation," by Jason Scott (WP 2000-8, 2000, .pdf format, 23p.).

C. "Taking the Subsidy Out of Early Retirement: Converting to Hybrid Pensions," by Robert L. Clark and Sylvester J. Schieber (WP 2000-9, 2000, .pdf format, 42p.).

D. "Mortality Risk, Inflation Risk, and Annuity Products," by Jeffrey R. Brown, Olivia S. Mitchell, and James M. Poterba (WP 2000-10, 2000, .pdf format, 36p.).

E. "Integration of the Life Annuity and Long-term Care Insurance: Theory, Evidence, Practice, and Policy," by Mark J. Warshawsky, Brenda Spillman, and Christopher Murtaugh (WP 2000-11, 2000, .pdf format, 38p.).

F. "Survivor Bonds and Compulsory Annuitization: Helping Reduce the Cost of Pension Provision," by David Blake, William Burrows, and J. Michael Orszag (WP 2000-12, 2000, .pdf format, 18p.).

G. "Turning Assets into Cash: Problems and Prospects in the Reverse Mortgage Market," by Andrew Caplin (WP 2000-13, 2000, .pdf format, 34p.).

H. "Aging and Housing Equity," by Steven F. Venti and David A. Wise (WP 2000-14, 2000, .pdf format, 31p.).

I. "Risk Management Through International Diversification: The Case of Latin American Pension Funds," by P.S. Srinivas and Juan Yermo (WP 2000-15, 2000, .pdf format, 46p.).

Scroll to 2000-7 -- 2000-15 for full text.

15. FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF MINNEAPOLIS: "Time Inconsistent Preferences and Social Security," by Ayse Imrohoroglu, Selahattin Imrohoroglu, and Douglas H. Joines (Discussion Paper No. 136, August 2000, .pdf and PostScript format, 42p.).


In this paper we examine the role of social security in an economy populated by overlapping generations of individuals with time-inconsistent preferences who face mortality risk, individual income risk, and borrowing constraints. Agents in this economy are heterogeneous with respect to age, employment status, retirement status, hours worked, and asset holdings. We consider two cases of time-inconsistent preferences. First, we model agents as quasi-hyperbolic discounters. They can be sophisticated and play a symmetric Nash game against their future selves; or they can be naive and believe that their future selves will exponentially discount. Second, we consider retrospective time inconsistency. We find that (1) there are substantial welfare costs to quasi-hyperbolic discounters of their time-inconsistent behavior, (2) social security is a poor substitute for a perfect commitment technology in maintaining old-age consumption, (3) there is little scope for social security in a world of quasi-hyperbolic discounters (with a short-term discount rate up to 15%), and, (4) the ex ante annual discount rate must be at least 10% greater than seems warranted ex post in order for a majority of individuals with retrospective time inconsistency to prefer a social security tax rate of 10% to no social security. Our findings question the effectiveness of unfunded social security in correcting for the undersaving resulting from time-inconsistent preferences.

Click on "Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) version" or "PostScript (.ps) version" for full text.


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

16. Experimental Aging Research (Vol. 26, No. 4, October 2000). Note 1: 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. Note 2: Your organization may have access to full electronic text (RealPage or .pdf format) via the link below. Check your organization's library.

17. Journal of Gerontology (A) Biological Sciences (Vol. 55, No. 11, November 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 this issue.

18. Journal of Gerontology (A) Medical Sciences (Vol. 55, No. 11, November 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 this issue.

19. Journal of Gerontology (B) Social Sciences (Vol. 55, No. 6, November 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 this issue.


V. Books:

20. WHARTON SCHOOL (UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA) PENSION RESEARCH COUNCIL: _To Retire or Not?: Retirement Policy and Practice in Higher Education_, edited by Robert L. Clark and P. Brett Hammond (University of Pennsylvania Press, November 2000, ISBN: 0-8122-3572-X, $37.50. For more information see:

21. UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN PRESS: _Is Social Security Broke?: A Cartoon Guide to the Issues_, by Barbara R. Bergmann and Jim Bush (University of Michigan Press, 2000, 112p, 53 drawings, Cloth ISBN: 0-472-09743-1, $29.95, Paper ISBN: 0-472-06743-5, $15.95). For more information and links to seven cartoons see:

22. NBER: "Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 15," edited by James M. Poterba (National Bureau of Economic Research, from a conference held Oct. 3, 2000, forthcoming from MIT Press). The chapter "Accumulated Pension Collars: A Market Approach to Reducing the Risk of Investment-Based Social Security Reform," by Martin Feldstein and Elena Ranguelova (.pdf format, 21p.) has been made electronically avialable.

Scroll to " Accumulated Pension Collars:..." for full text.


VI. Funding Opportunities:

23. NIH: "Age Related Changes in Reading and Oral Language Comprehension," (National Institutes of Health Program Announcement PA-01-002, Oct. 25, 2000). For more information see:


VII. Legislation Information Updates:


A. "Improving Social Security Work Incentives," (Printed Hearing #106-46, February 2000, ASCII text and .pdf format, 98p.).

B. "Social Security's Readiness for the Impending Wave of Baby Boomer Beneficiaries" (Printed Hearing #106-44, March 2000, ASCII text and .pdf format, 111p.).

Scroll to or "find in page "106-46" or "106-44" .


VIII. Websites of Interest:

25. SSA INTERNET RETIREMENT INSURANCE BENEFITS: US Social Security Administration Deputy Commissioner Bill Halter "announced ... that, 'People will now be able to apply for Social Security retirement benefits online at their convenience.' So, if you are 61 years and 9 months or older and plan to start getting your benefits within four months, you may be able to apply online. Privacy is a high priority, and we [SSA] make new online services available only when we are confident that your privacy is guaranteed. We use state-of-the-art encryption to ensure that confidential information is secure."

Note: If this address is unavailable try:

Click on the link "Social Security... Apply to Retire Here". Note: This site may be overloaded for a time. Please be patient if you cannot access it the first time(s) you try.

26. AFAR INFOAGING.ORG: The American Federation for Aging Research, an organization whose mission "is to promote healthier aging through biomedical research," has, with the aid of a grant from Pfizer Inc., launched InfoAging.Org, a website designed to "offer the latest information about ground breaking new aging research tailored for a non-medical audience. Planning even more extensive content, links, and regular updates,'s goal is to become one of the leading consumer resources for aging and research-related information." At present there are articles on diseases of aging, biology of aging, and lifestyle in aging. There is also a section with biomedical research news alerts.

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