Evaluation of the Subjective Probabilities of Survival in the Health and Retirement Study

TitleEvaluation of the Subjective Probabilities of Survival in the Health and Retirement Study
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1995
AuthorsHurd, MD, McGarry, KM
JournalJournal of Human Resources
Call Numberpubs_1995_Hurd_MJHR.pdf
KeywordsConsumption and Savings, Disabilities, Health Conditions and Status

In the Health and Retirement Study respondents were asked about the chances they would live to 75 or to 85. We analyze these responses to determine if they behave like probabilities of survival, if their averages are close to average probabilities in the population, and if they have correlations with other variables that are similar to correlations with actual mortality outcomes. We find that generally they do behave like probabilities and that they do aggregate to population probabilities. most remarkable, however, is that they covary with other variables in the same way actual outcomes vary with the variables. For example, respondents with higher socioeconomic status give higher probabilities of survival, whereas respondents who smoke give lower probabilities. We conclude that these measures of subjective probabilities have great potential use in models of intertemporal decision-making under uncertainty.


ProCite field 3 : SUNY and NBER; UCLA and NBER

Endnote Keywords

Health Production/Nutrition/Mortality/Morbidity/Disability/Disability/Economic Behavior/Health/Mortality

Endnote ID


Citation Key6527