Health Information and Subjective Survival Probability: Evidence from Taiwan

Jin-Tan Liu, Meng-Wen Tsou, James Hammitt

NBER Working Paper No. 12864
Issued in January 2007
NBER Program(s):Health Economics

The effect of new health information on individuals' expectations about their longevity is examined using a Bayesian learning model. Using two-period panel-structured survey data from Taiwan, we find that subjective probabilities of living to age 75 and 85 are significantly smaller for respondents with more abnormal medical test outcomes and for those receiving more extensive advice on health behavior from their physicians. The subjective probability of survival declines with health shocks such as developing heart disease. Using pooled cross-sectional data, we find that males and married persons are more optimistic about their longevity expectations than females and single persons, and that income is strongly correlated with the subjective probability of living to age 75. Consistent with previous studies, the longevity of the same-sex parent is strongly associated with an individual's own expectation of living to age 75.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w12864

Published: Liu, Jin-Tan, Meng-Wen Tsou and James K. Hammitt. “Health Information and Subjective Survival Probability: Evidence from Taiwan." Journal of Risk Research 10, 2 (2007): 149-175. citation courtesy of

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