The Value of Greater Life Expectancy

Smerete_anti_aging_techniquesGoldman and his colleagues estimate that delayed aging could increase life expectancy by an additional 2.2 years and generate more than $5 trillion in social value. When aging is delayed, say the authors, all fatal and disabling disease risks are also lowered. Although delayed aging would also greatly increase entitlement outlays, the researchers demonstrate that these costs can be managed through modest policy changes, such as indexing the eligibility ages for Social Security and Medicare.

Dana Goldman, David Cutler, etc., in Health Affairs.

Comments (12)

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  1. Studebaker says:

    Increasing life expectancy would only benefit society to the extent that it also increases productivity. It’s easy to see how extending the career of a skilled surgeon would benefit society. It’s less clear how extending the retirement of a skilled surgeon would help anybody but the golf course owners in Florida.

  2. Mark says:

    “Although delayed aging would also greatly increase entitlement outlays, the researchers demonstrate that these costs can be managed through modest policy changes”

    Can a modest policy change be classified as a simple task anymore?

  3. Rocky says:

    Are there not “bigger fish to fry” than trying to live longer? I mean yes, living longer would be great but there are so many diseases that are killing at an alarming rate…

    • Crawford says:

      “In contrast, addressing heart disease and cancer separately would yield diminishing improvements in health and longevity by 2060—mainly due to competing risks”

      What are the competing risk?

    • bart says:

      “When aging is delayed, say the authors, all fatal and disabling disease risks are also lowered.”

  4. George says:

    40 is the new 20?

    • Studebaker says:

      I wonder how much of this is due to slowing the aging process. And how much is due to the huge cohort of Baby Boomers, who refuse to lay down and die at age 67 like their grandparents did.

  5. Buster says:

    …generate more than $5 trillion in social value…

    I’m always skeptical when someone claims something will generate Societal Value. If something generates individual value, then prove it by letting individuals pay for it.

  6. Bob Hertz says:

    Buster is on the right track. Societal value is a very mushy concept.

    Out in the real America, longer life spans are a real economic problem.

    Fewer men die in their 50′s, which means fewer jobs open up. More men and women are working past age 65, another job squelcher. Seniors live very long and their children are less likely to inherit.

    These are happy problems to some extent, versus young people dying of epidemics.
    But they are problems and they seem to be making us poorer (in real life.)