Journal Article

An analysis of life expectancy and economic production using expectile frontier zones

Schnabel, S., Eilers, P. H. C.

Demographic Research, 21:5, 109-134 (2009)


Keywords: gross national product, life expectancy


The wealth of a country is assumed to have a strong non-linear influence on the life expectancy of its inhabitants. We follow up on research by Preston and study the relationship with gross domestic product. Smooth curves for the average but also for (upper) frontiers are constructed by a combination of least asymmetrically weighted squares and P-splines. Guidelines are given for optimizing the amount of smoothing and the definition of frontiers. The model is applied to a large set of countries in different years. It is also used to estimate life expectancy performance for individual countries and to show how it changed over time.