The proposal aims to take a comprehensive look at the health, well-being, and economic activity of mature and elderly individuals in a wide range of countries. The analysis takes advantage of the fact that for the first time comparable longitudinal survey data are available, while moreover new data will be collected related to the design of a new Social Security System in the state of Yucatan, Mexico. An important theme in the proposal is the opportunity provided by variation in institutional environment both within (as a result of changes over time) and across countries. We will exploit this variation to learn about key behavioral parameters and to better understand the comparative effectiveness of policies for improving health and well being. The program project will make the following broad contributions: ? Expand our understanding of the relationship between socioeconomic status (SES) and health and how childhood events affect well-being in old age, by using unique new data from China; ? Experimentally design a Social Security system and use the experimental environment to shed light on a number of mechanisms affecting health and well-being in old age; ? Exploit changes in U.S. economic conditions and elsewhere to shed light on the behavioral and protective effects (or otherwise) of institutions during uncertain economic times; ? Explore international comparisons of population health, their dynamics, and their interaction with European and American institutions to study how these affect outcomes at older ages, including retirement, financial and subjective well-being, mental and physical health. ? Pay special attention to the relationship between family, community, and work contexts and how they affect the physical and mental health of mature and elderly adults. The program project will also provide a public service in several respects: ? It will harmonize variable descriptions and definitions across datasets and make them available on a web-site for researchers, including tools that allow for data extraction. ? Make harmonized institutional information available to the wider research community.

Public Health Relevance

The recent availability of comparable longitudinal data on older populations opens new opportunities for research on comparative effectiveness of policies for improving health and well-being. This project will use data from more than 15 countries to analyze how the interaction between individual behavior, social context, institutions and policies shapes outcomes.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Research Program Projects (P01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAG1-ZIJ-9 (O5))
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Phillips, John
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Rand Corporation
Santa Monica
United States
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Lei, Xiaoyan; Smith, James P; Sun, Xiaoting et al. (2014) Gender Differences in Cognition in China and Reasons for Change over Time: Evidence from CHARLS. J Econ Ageing 4:46-55
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Borsch-Supan, Axel; Brugiavini, Agar; Croda, Enrica (2009) The Role of Institutions and Health in European Patterns of Work and Retirement. J Eur Soc Policy 19:341-358

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