Current Awareness in Aging Research (CAAR) Report #67--January 18, 2001

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 (HRS) Asset and Health Dynamics Among the Oldest Old (AHEAD) website announced on Jan. 16, 2001 the release of the Tracker 2.0 File, as well as a data alert of a data correction. For more information see:

Jan. 16, 2001 item.

For specific information about Tracker 2.0 see:

2. NCHS DATA: The US National Center for Health Statistics has released the 1998 and 1999 National Hospital Discharge Surveys. "The National Hospital Discharge Survey (NHDS), which has been conducted annually since 1965, is a national probability survey designed to meet the need for information on characteristics of inpatients discharged from non-Federal short-stay hospitals in the United States. The NHDS collects data from a sample of approximately 270,000 inpatient records acquired from a national sample of about 500 hospitals. Only hospitals with an average length of stay of fewer than 30 days for all patients, general hospitals, or childrens general hospitals are included in the survey."

Survey description:

Data and documentation:


II. Reports and articles:

3. AOA REPORT: "Older Adults and Mental Health: Issues and Opportunities," (US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Aging, January 2001, HTML and .pdf format. Note: The .pdf version of this document did not load at the time of this mailing.). "This report highlights major issues in the field of mental health and aging; discusses efforts to address these issues, including community-based services; and identifies the crucial challenges that must be confronted in the years ahead and strategies to meet them. It is a companion document to "Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General" (USDHHS, 1999a). Because the Surgeon General's report provides an excellent discussion of the nature, diagnosis, and treatment of mental disorders, this report will focus instead on community-based services that can be utilized by a wide range of elders, including older persons in good mental health, for whom outreach and education might be helpful; older persons who are experiencing acute stress or crisis; and those with severe mental disorders."

4. _MLR_ ARTICLE: "Income distribution of older Americans," by Rose M. Rubin, Shelley I. White-Means, and Luojia Mao Daniel (US Bureau of Labor Statistics _Monthly Labor Review_, Vol 123, No. 11, November 2000, p. 19-30, .pdf format).


Although many older Americans are financially comfortable, with a significant group being well off, the largest share of elderly (defined as persons aged 65 or older) households has low incomes. Income inequality among older households persists despite more than 30 years of growth of income transfer programs designed to reduce poverty and improve the economic status of elderly persons. This gap highlights the importance of analyzing the income distribution of the elderly to determine the nature and extent of any inequalities that appear in it. Although government transfer programs have substantially enhanced the well-being of many of the elderly, numerous older persons continue to suffer low incomes.

5. HCFA NOTICE: "45 Day Notice for 2002 M+C Rates" (US Department of Health and Human Services, Health Care Financing Administration, Jan. 12, 2001). "In accordance with Section 1853(b)(2) of the Social Security Act, we are required to notify you of any proposed changes in the M+C capitation rate methodology or risk adjustment methodology for CY 2002. Preliminary estimates of the various national per capita M+C growth percentages and the methodology changes for CY 2002 are attached."

6. GAO PERFORMANCE AND ACCOUNTABILITY SERIES REPORT: "Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Social Security Administration" (US General Accounting Office GAO-01-261, January 2001, .pdf format, 39p.).

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. _BMJ_ CLINICAL REVIEW: "Recent Advances: Geriatric Medicine," by Sharon E. Straus (_British Medical Journal_, Vol. 322, No. 7278, Jan. 13, 2001, p. 86-89, HTML and .pdf format).

8. _THE LANCET_ POLICY AND PEOPLE: Medicare to shift stance on medical errors disclosure," by Michael McCarthy (_The Lancet_, Vol. 357, No. 9250, Jan. 13, 2001, p. 128, HTML and .pdf format).



9. _CLINICAL DRUG INVESTIGATIONS_ VIA MEDSCAPE ARTICLE: Note: Medscape requires free registration before providing articles. "Quality of Drug Use in Swedish Nursing Homes: A Follow-Up Study," by Ingrid K. Schmidt and Johan Fastbom (_Clinical Drug Investigations_, Vol. 20, No. 6, December 2000, p. 433-446, HTML format).



III. Working Papers:

10. NBER:

A. "Individual Risk in an Investment-Based Social Security System," by Martin Feldstein and Elena Ranguelova (National Bureau of Economic Research W8074, January 2001, .pdf format, 19p.).


This paper examines the risk aspects of an investment-based defined contribution Social Security plan. We focus on the risk after the plan is fully phased in. Individuals deposit a fraction of wages to a Personal Retirement Account (PRA), invest these funds in a 60:40 equity-debt mix, and in a similarly invested annuity at age 67. The value of the assets follows a random walk with mean and variance of a 60:40 equity-debt portfolio over the period 1946-95, a mean log return of 5.5 percent (net of administrative costs of 0.4 percent) and a standard deviation of 12.5 percent. We study he stochastic distributions of this process by doing 10,000 simulations of the 80-year experience of the cohort that reached age 21 in 1998. The resulting annuities are compared to the future defined benefits specified in current law (the benchmark' benefits). With no uncertainty, a 5.5 percent log return would permit the benchmark benefits to be purchased with PRA deposits of 3.1 percent of payroll, only one-sixth of the pay-as-you-go tax needed for the benchmark benefits. Saving a higher share of wages provides a cushion' that protects the individual from the risk of an unacceptably low level of benefits. For example, PRA deposits of 6 percent of wages reduces the probability that the benefits are less than the benchmark to 0.17 and the probability that they are less than 61 percent of the benchmark to 0.05. PRA deposits of 9 percent of wages (half of the tax rate required in a pay-as-you-go system) would substantially reduce these risks. This pure investment-based plan is an extreme case. The investment risk can be reduced further by using a mixed system that combines pay-as-you-go and investment-based components or that makes intergenerational transfers conditional on the performance of stock and bond prices.

Click on "PDF" at the bottom of the abstract, or submit your email address, for electronic full text.

B. "Retirement Incentives and Expectations," by Sewin Chan and Ann Huff Stevens (National Bureau of Economic Research W8082, January 2001, .pdf format, 40p.).


This paper investigates the responsiveness of individuals' retirement expectations to forward-looking measures of pension wealth accumulations. While most of the existing literature on retirement has used cross-sectional variation to identify the effects of pension and Social Security wealth on retirement behavior, we estimate fixed-effects regressions to control for unobserved heterogeneity that might be correlated with retirement plans and wealth. As expected, we find significant effects of future pension wealth accumulations on retirement expectations, but the magnitude of these effects differs substantially between OLS and fixed-effects estimation. Coefficients from fixed-effects estimation are at most half the magnitude of similar OLS regressions. Our results point to potentially large biases from the failure to control for unobserved heterogeneity in empirical models of retirement-related outcomes.

Click on "PDF" at the bottom of the abstract, or submit your email address, for electronic full text.

11. IIASA: "Toward a Concept of "Population Balance" Considering Age-Structure, Human Capital, and Intergenerational Equity," by Wolfgang Lutz and Warren Sanderson (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis [Austria], Interim Report IR-01-003, January 2001, .pdf and PostScript format, 19p. Note: this paper contains three-dimensional color graphs).


This paper is a first step in trying to develop a concept incorporating population growth and population aging concerns under one analytical umbrella. Our approach is to try to achieve this through explicitly considering age structural changes through the analysis of age-specific growth rates and the new measure of Cohort Succession Ratios (CSR), which is introduced in this paper. In order to also address the issue of intergenerational equity on both the population aging and the sustainable development concerns, additional emphasis is put on human capital formation as measured by educational attainment as a proxy for productivity. Since age-, sex- and education-specific analysis can readily be carried out in a multi-state population projection context, this approach presents a feasible and operational strategy to work towards the goal of such a more general framework tentatively entitled "population balance." The paper first discusses the political need for such a more general concept, and then works towards its operational definition through analytical and empirical considerations and the development of a simple simulation model considering age-, cohort- and education-specific productivity and income.

Click on PDF or PS icon for .pdf or PostScript version.

12. UNIVERSITY OF ESSEX [UK] INSTITUTE FOR SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC RESEARCH: "Retirement and the Economic Well-being of the Elderly: A British Perspective," by Elena Bardasi, Stephen P. Jenkins, and John A. Rigg (Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex 2000-33, 2000, .pdf format, 31p.).


Little is known about the income dynamics and retirement in Britain, in part because of a lack of data. The information is of some topical interest given the growing number of elderly people, the trend towards earlier retirement, the decline in the value of the basic state pension and the growing reliance on occupational and private pensions, and continuing relatively high poverty rates among the elderly. This paper considers the important question of income and retirement and, in particular, the association between transitions into retirement and the probability of becoming poor. It is based on longitudinal data from the British Household Panel Survey waves 1-7, covering 1991-1997. We also aim to relate differences in poverty entry probabilities among the retired to differences in factors such as a retiree's health, housing tenure, age and sex, education, labour market status and history (and hence routes into retirement), household composition and spouses characteristics.

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

13. SEOUL NATIONAL UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: "Intra-Household Transfers and Old-Age Security in America, 1890-1950," by Chulhee Lee (_Seoul National University_, No. 38, November 2000, .pdf format , 43p.).


This paper explores the economic status of the elderly in late nineteenth and early twentieth century America. It has been widely believed that reduced earnings of aging workers in these periods were fully supplemented by increased earnings of children. The patterns of individual consumption expenditures, however, indicate that childrens' supports were no longer an important means of old-age security after the end of the nineteenth century. Older males who were out of the labor force were much poorer than active workers of a similar age. The retired were not as much protected by family support as active workers. The result indicates that the previous studies based mainly on active workers overstate the extent of economic progress of the entire elderly population in the industrial era. This study tends to support the conventional belief that the rise of the welfare state was a response to the emerging social problems in the era of industrialization such as unemployment, poverty, and the dependence of the elderly.


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

14. 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 Sociology (Vol. 106, No. 2, September 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.

Medical Care Research and Review (Vol. 57, No. 3, September 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.

Population Studies (Vol. 54, No. 3, Nov. 2000).


V. Books:

15. NBER: _Themes in the Economics of Aging_, edited by David A. Wise (from a conference held May 6-8, 1999, forthcoming from University of Chicago Press). The chapters "Anticipated and Actual Bequests," by Michael D. Hurd and James P. Smith (.pdf format, 39p.), and "Predictors of Mortality among the Elderly," by Michael D. Hurd, Daniel McFadden and Angela Merrill (.pdf format, 29p.) have been made electronically available.

Scroll to "Anticipated and Actual Bequests," or "Predictors of Mortality among the Elderly."


VI. Funding Opportunities:

16. NIH: "Planning Grants for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Treatment Intervention in Middle-Aged and Older Populations" (RFA: AG-01-004, Release date: Jan. 8, 2001).


VII. Legislation Information Updates:

17. AOA: "Implementation Guidance to State Agencies on Aging Regarding the 2000 Amendments to the Older Americans Act" (US Administration on Aging, January 2000, HTML format).


VIII. Websites of Interest:

18. NCI SEER CANQUES UPDATE: The US National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program's CanQues (Cancer Questions) interactive Java based data extraction system has been updated to version 2.0. Note: "[Users] must have at least Netscape Navigator v4.06 or Microsoft Internet Explorer v4.x to utilize this Java 1.1 system." The new version allows querying of age-adjusted and crude rates of cancer incidence in 9 SEER registries (1972-1997), and in 11 registries (1992-1997), as well as trends in SEER incidence age-adjusted rates in 9 and 11 registries for the above listed years. In addition to data extraction, users can now retrieve line and bar charts.


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