How Tempo Distortions Affect the Analysis of Changing Mortality: The Case of Mortality Trends in West and East Germany

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 dif-ferences 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 con-siderably later than trends in conventional life expectancy suggest. This indicates that the search for the causes of changing mortality in East Germany might have been based on inap-propriate measures and thus led to the wrong direction.

  See paper

Presented in Poster Session 5: Health, Mortality, Aging, Biology