Current Awareness in Aging Research (CAAR) Report #82--May 3, 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. Reports and articles:


A. "... Bush Establishes New Social Security Commission" (US Social Security Administration, May 2001). "... Bush has announced the establishment of a Social Security Commission on Social Security reform. The bipartisan Commission has been asked to develop a proposal to modernize and restore long-term fiscal soundness to Social Security. The Commission will schedule public hearings soon and issue a final report this fall."

B. "Consumer Price Index Fix" (US Social Security Administration, April 2001). "The Social Security Administration (SSA) will issue retroactive payments in mid-July 2001 and adjust the regular monthly benefit received in August 2001 for about 45 million Social Security and about 6 million Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries. This action is being taken to compensate beneficiaries for a minor shortfall in their monthly benefits paid since January 2000 as a result of an error the Bureau of Labor Statistics made that affected the calculation of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) starting in 1999."

2. _FT_ ARTICLES: The Apr. 27, 2001 issue of the _Financial Times_ carries a "Survey" section on World Insurance. Included are an overview, along with services and regional sections. In all there are 10 articles.

3. FAO ARTICLE: "Population ageing in developing societies: How urgent are the issues?" by Alain Marcoux (United Nations Food and Development Organization, Sustainable Development Department, SDdimensions, April 2001).


This note examines expected trends in population ageing, at the regional and country levels, up to 2050, highlighting the wide differences between countries regarding the urgency of the issues. It then looks at ageing in the broader context of changes in age structures and their overall implications for age dependency and indirectly for development. Finally it discusses in-country variations in ageing and shows how these, together with considerations on the socio-cultural characteristics of populations, suggests not to neglect local policy development in the area of ageing.

4. HCFA INSTRUCTIONS: Medicare+Choice (M+C) 2002 Renewal Instructions (US Health Care Financing Administration Operational Policy Letter [OPL] 132, April 2001, rich text format [.rtf], 33p.).

5. ALZHEIMER'S ASSOCIATION/LEWIN GROUP REPORT: "Medicare and Medicaid Costs for People with Alzheimer's Disease" (The Lewin Group for the Alzheimer's Association, April 2001, .pdf format, 12p.).

Click on "study", "report", or "Alzheimer Report" for full text.

More information about the Lewin Group:

6. ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON FOUNDATION REPORT: Note: "The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation was established as a national philanthropy in 1972 and today it is the largest US foundation devoted to improving the health and health care of all Americans." "National Blueprint: Increasing Physical Activity Among Adults Age 50 and Older," (sponsored by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, AARP, American College of Sports Medicine, American Geriatrics Society, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institute on Aging, 2001, .pdf format, 40p.).

7. UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND CENTER ON AGING-MEDICARE/MEDICAID INTERGRATION PROGRAM REPORT: "Quality Methods and Measures," by National Chronic Care Consortium (Medicare/Medicaid Integration Program MMIP Technical Assistance Paper No. 9., April 2001, .pdf format, 23p.).

8. ILCUSA PUBLIC POLICY UPDATE: The International Longevity Center - USA, has released its "Public Policy Update" for April 2001 (.pdf format, 7p.). The publication contains an "update of longevity and aging issues from the government -- federal, state, local, and international -- and the private sector."

More information about ILCUSA:

9. _NATURE MEDICINE_ ARTICLE ABSTRACT: Note: Full electronic text (HTML and.pdf format) may be available. Check your organization's library."TGF-{beta}1 promotes microglial amyloid-{beta} clearance and reduces plaque burden in transgenic mice," by Tony Wyss-Coray, Carol Lin, Fengrong Yan, Gui-Qiu Yu, Michelle Rohde, Lisa McConlogue, Eliezer Masliah, and Lennart Mucke (_Nature Medicine_ Vol. 7, No. 5, .pdf and HTML format, May 2001, pp. 612-618).

10. _BMJ_ BOOK REVIEW: _Decoding Darkness: The Search for the Genetic Causes of Alzheimer's Disease_, by Rudolph E. Tanzi and Ann B. Parson, reviewed by Nigel Lester (_British Medical Journal_, Vol. 322, No. 7293, p. 1068).

11. _LANCET_ ARTICLE, RESEARCH LETTER ABSTRACT, COMMENTARY: Note: _Lancet_ requires free registration before providing content.

A. "Understanding the experience of pain in terminally ill patients," by Stefan C. Weiss, Linda L. Emanuel, Diane L. Fairclough, and Ezekiel J. Emanuel (_Lancet_, Vol. 357, No. 9265, Apr. 28, 2001, HTML and .pdf format, p. 1311-1315).



B. "Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in an elderly patient," by J.W. Lorains, C. Henry, D.A. Agbamu, M. Rossi, M. Bishop, R.G. Will, and J.W. Ironside (_Lancet_ Research Letter (abstract), Vol. 357, No. 9265, Apr. 28, 2001).

C. "Window of opportunity for pain control in the terminally ill," by Sam Hjelmeland Ahmedzai (_Lancet_ Commentary, Vol. 357, No. 9265, Apr. 28, 2001, HTML and .pdf format, p. 1304-1305).



12. _AARP BULLETIN_ ARTICLES: Selected articles from the May 2001 issue of _AARP Bulletin_ have been made electronically available.


II. Working Papers:

13. NBER: Note: Full text of these papers is available by clicking on the"PDF" icon below the abstract or by submitting your email address.

A. "Distortion Costs of Taxing Wealth Accumulation: Income Versus Estate Taxes," by Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Donald Marples (National Bureau of Economic Research W8261, April 2001, .pdf format, 49p.).


Recently, attention has focused on the estate tax. To date, however, the debate over estate taxes has been nearly devoid of standard considerations of deadweight loss. We develop a framework for computing the deadweight loss of a revenue-neutral switch from an estate tax to a capital income tax, focusing on the potential lifetime behavioral responses in anticipation of paying the estate tax, while requiring relatively few parameters to estimate. We conclude that eliminating the estate tax and replacing the revenue with that from a capital income tax will likely enhance economic efficiency. Specifically, using our baseline parameter estimates we estimate that the mean decrease in deadweight loss is $0.018 per dollar of wealth. There is, however, considerable heterogeneity in the estimated impact. Importantly, our estimates are based on data that do not contain the "super-rich" who are most highly affected by the estate tax.

B. "The Equivalence of the Social Security's Trust Fund Portfolio Allocation and Capital Income Tax Policy," by Kent Smetters (National Bureau of Economic Research W8259, April 2001, .pdf format 34p.).


This paper proves that the stock-bond portfolio choice of the Social Security trust fund is equivalent in general equilibrium to the tax treatment of capital income by the non-social security part of government. A larger [smaller] share of social security's portfolio invested in stocks is equivalent to a larger [smaller] symmetric linear tax on risky capital income returns received on assets held by private agents. This general-equilibrium equivalency holds despite the fact that the stock-bond portfolio choice is not neutral in the presence of several market frictions. These frictions include incomplete markets between generations as well as the presence of endogenously binding borrowing constraints within generations. To the extent that trust fund investment in equities is used to improve market efficiency in the context of these frictions, the equivalent capital income tax rate can be interpreted as a Lindahl tax. This tax gives a decentralized way of achieving the same command-economy outcome that would occur if the government directly controlled part of the capital stock. General-equilibrium simulation results, using a new overlapping-generations model with aggregate uncertainty, suggest that investing the entire US Social Security trust fund in equities is equivalent to increasing the capital income tax rate by about 4 percentage points.

C. "Finding a Way Out of America's Demographic Dilemma," by Laurence J. Kotlikoff, Kent Smetters and Jan Walliser (National Bureau of Economic Research W8258, April 2001, .pdf format, 61p.).


Notwithstanding the rosy short-term fiscal scenarios being advanced in Washington, the demographic transition presents the United States with a very serious fiscal crisis. In 30 years there will be twice the number of elderly, but only 15 percent more workers to help pay Social Security and Medicare benefits. A realistic reading of the government demographic projections suggests a two thirds increase in payroll tax rates over the next three to five decades. However, these forecasts ignore macroeconomic feedback effects. In particular, they ignore the possibility that the nation will have more capital per worker as the number of elderly wealth-holders rises relative to the number of young workers. More capital per worker would mean higher worker productivity, higher real wages, and the lower return to capital that worries Wall Street. It would also mean a bigger payroll tax base and a smaller rise in tax rates. On the other hand, a higher payroll tax will leave workers with less after-tax income out of which to save and, therefore, fewer retirement assets than would otherwise be the case. Thus capital deepening is not a foregone conclusion. This study develops a dynamic general equilibrium life-cycle simulation model to study these conflicting forces. The model is the first of its kind to admit realistic patterns of fertility and lifespan extension. It also features heterogeneity, within as well as across generations, and, thus, can be used to study both intra- and intergenerational equity. Unfortunately, our baseline demographic simulation, which assumes the continuation of current social security policy, shows deteriorating macroeconomic conditions that will exacerbate, rather than mitigate, our fiscal problems. Real wages per effective unit of labor fall 4 percent over the next 30 years and 10 percent over the century. For Wall Street, this bad news about real wages is good news.


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

14. Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences (A) (Vol. 56A, No. 5, May 2001). Note: This journal is available in full electronic text in the ProQuest Research Library. Check your library for the availability of this database and this issue.

15. Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences (A) (Vol. 56A, No. 5, May 2001). Note: This journal is available in full electronic text in the ProQuest Research Library. Check your library for the availability of this database and this issue.

16. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences (B) (Vol. 56B, No. 3, May 2001). Note: This journal is available in full electronic text in the ProQuest Research Library. Check your library for the availability of this database and this issue.

17. Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences (B) (Vol. 56B, No. 3, May 2001). Note: This journal is available in full electronic text in the ProQuest Research Library. Check your library for the availability of this database and this issue.

18. 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

Research on Aging (Vol. 23, No. 3, May 2001). Note: This journal is available in full electronic text in the ProQuest Research Library and EBSCO Academic Search Elite Database. Check your library for the availability of these databases and this issue.


IV. Conferences/Seminars:

19. MRRC/MVR COURSE: "Stochastic Population Forecasts and their Use in Long-run Budgetary Projections," a three day course to be given Jul. 25-27, 2001 in Washington DC. (Michigan Retirement Research Center and Mountain View Research). Those interested in taking the course must register by Jul. 12, 2001. For more information see:

or call (734) 615-0422 (Michigan Retirement Research Center).

V. Legislation Information Updates:

20. US SENATE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON AGING: "Assisted Living in the 21st Century: Examining its Role in the Continuum of Care," a hearing held Apr. 26, 2001.

Hearing testimony:

Video of complete hearing (RealPlayer plug-in or helper application required, running time: 1 hour 51 minutes, 22 seconds).


A. "Medicare+Choice: Lessons for Reform," a hearing held May 1, 2001.

Hearing testimony:

B. "Medicare Reform," a hearing held Feb. 28, 2001.

Hearing transcript:

C. "Seniors' Access to Prescription Drug Benefits" (US House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Health Publication No. 106-100, from a hearing held Feb. 15, 2000, ASCII text and .pdf format, 102p.).

D. "Social Security Government Pension Offset," (US House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Health Publication No. 106-102, from a hearing held Jun. 27, 2000, ASCII text and .pdf format, 100p.).

Both "C" and "D" can be accessed from:

Scroll to or "find in page" "106-100" and/or "106-102" (without the quotes).


VI. Websites of Interest:

22. AARP UNIVERSAL DESIGN HOME MODIFICATION: AARP provides this web site, with suggestions on universal design home modification that will make "a home that is safer and more comfortable for people all ages." Included are sections on all parts of the house, along with a design checklist.


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