MPIDR Working Paper
How slowing senescence changes life expectancy
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2010-006, 13 pages.
Rostock, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (February 2010)
Mortality decline has historically been a result of reductions in the level of mortality at all ages. The slope of mortality increase with age has been remarkably stable. A number of leading researchers on aging, however, suggest that the next revolution of longevity increase will be the result of slowing down the rate of aging, lessening the rate at which mortality increases as we get older. In this paper, we show mathematically how varying the pace of senescence influences life expectancy. We provide a formula that holds for any baseline hazard function. Our result is analogous to Keyfitz's "entropy" relationship for changing the level of mortality. Interestingly, the influence of the shape of the baseline schedule on the effect of senescence changes is the complement of that found for level changes. We also provide a generalized formulation that mixes level and slope effects.