Mystery of Rising Old-Age Mortality in Europe:Testing Alternative Explanations

Veronica Toffolutti , Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi
David Stuckler, Bocconi University

Since 2015, mortality in persons over age 65 reversed historical declines and rose in 15 of 28 EU countries. The excess can be roughly translated into 217,000 extra deaths amongst the 94 million seniors over 65 in the 28 EU countries. Potential explanations include data artefacts, flu outbreaks, cold winter seasons, returning emigrant retirees, and large budgetary reductions to health and social care. Here we test alternative hypotheses using cross-national data covering the years 2003-2015. We focus, in particular, to the health and social care–cuts implemented during the Great Recession. We found that a decrease of one percent in the social care expenditure leads to an increase in old-age mortality by about 0.14 percentage points (95% CI: 0.06 to 0.21 percentage points). No significant effects have been found for public healthcare expenditure

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 Presented in Session 6. Health & Mortality & Aging