Long-run Health Trends in Europe
Long-run health trends are worsening for middle-aged baby-boomers in the US. In contrast to this alarming development, Abeliansky and Strulik (2019, A&S), in one of the few studies of long-term health developments in Europe, find improving health trends in Europe across a broad range of cohorts. We conducted a cohort analysis of health deficits similar to A&S but focused on middle-aged individuals. We find that the positive health trend has all but stalled for the more recent birth cohorts in Europe. Our results are robust to a large range of different definitions of the health index. We argue that the difference between A&S and our results is due to longitudinal sample selectivity bias. Our findings have implications for future public and private costs of health care, and they are relevant for the ongoing discussion on how to achieve longer healthy working lives.