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Differential Mortality by Income and Social Security Progressivity

May 2009
Working Paper
08-061
By  Gopi Shah Goda, John Shoven, Sita Slavov
There is a widespread belief that people with low lifetime labor income have higher age specific mortality and lower remaining life expectancies at age 60 or 65 than those with middle or high lifetime earnings. Historically, there was very little evidence to either support or undermine this belief. The evidence that did exist found mortality differences by current labor income which could not be easily translated to measures based on lifetime income due to reverse causality issues: someone in poor health status is likely to have low current earnings as well as high mortality. However, recently new estimates of the mortality gap by lifetime income and its trend over time have been produced.