MPIDR Working Paper

An overlapping cohorts perspective of lifespan inequality

MPIDR Working Paper WP-2023-046, 35 pages.
Rostock, Max-Planck-Institut für demografische Forschung (November 2023)
Open Access


A growing applied literature investigates the levels, trends, causes, and effects of lifespan variation. This work is typically based on measures that combine partial cohort histories into a synthetic cohort, most frequently in a period-life table, or focus on single (completed) cohort analysis. We introduce a new cohort-based method, the overlapping cohorts perspective, that preserves individual cohort histories and aggregates them in a population level measure. We apply these new methods to describe levels and trends in lifespan variation, and to the assessment of temporary and permanent mortality changes in several case studies, including the surge of violent deaths in Colombia in the 1990s and 2000s, and cause-deleted exercises for top mortality causes such as cardiovascular diseases and cancer. The results from our approach differ from those of existing methods in the timing, trends, and levels of the impact of these mortality developments on lifespan variability, bringing new insights to applied work.

Schlagwörter: cohort analysis, life tables
Das Max-Planck-Institut für demografische Forschung (MPIDR) in Rostock ist eines der international führenden Zentren für Bevölkerungswissenschaft. Es gehört zur Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, einer der weltweit renommiertesten Forschungsgemeinschaften.