Old age mortality and macroeconomic cycles

Herbert Rolden (First author), David van Bodegom, Wilbert B van den Hout, Rudi G J Westendorp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background As mortality is more and more concentrated at old age, it becomes critical to identify the determinants of old age mortality. It has counterintuitively been found that mortality rates at all ages are higher during short-term increases in economic growth. Work-stress is found to be a contributing factor to this association, but cannot explain the association for the older, retired population. Methods Historical figures of gross domestic product (Angus Maddison) were compared with mortality rates (Human Mortality Database) of middle aged (40-44 years) and older people (70-74 years) in 19 developed countries for the period 1950-2008. Regressions were performed on the de-trended data, accounting for autocorrelation and aggregated using random effects models. Results Most countries show pro-cyclical associations between the economy and mortality, especially with regard to male mortality rates. On average, for every 1% increase in gross domestic product, mortality increases with 0.36% for 70-year-old to 74-year-old men (p
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-50
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Epidemiology and Community Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • adult
  • age distribution
  • aged
  • developed countries
  • Female
  • gross domestic product/trends
  • humans
  • male
  • mortality/trends
  • regression analysis
  • sex distribution
  • socioeconomic factors
  • stress, psychological/complications
  • workload/economics


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