How tempo distortions affect the comparative analysis of mortality: theoretical and empirical considerations

Marc Luy, University of Rostock

The divergence and convergence of survival conditions in West and East Germany offer a unique possibility to understand the causes of current changes in mortality. In recent years, several studies based on observed trends in life expectancy between West and East Germany have been done, but the leading determinant is still undetected. Following Bongaarts and Feeney’s approach I argue that this kind of data is an imperfect base for examining mortality changes because of severe tempo distortions. Adjustment for tempo effects shows that the differences in survival conditions between West and East Germany are still considerably higher than expected and that the survival gap between West and East Germany started to close considerably later than trends in conventional life expectancy suggest. On the base of these findings the paper will be extended to estimates for tempo-adjusted life expectancy in several Eastern and Western European countries.

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Presented in Session 71: Methods of mortality analysis