How Did Mortality Selection Change the Future of the Past? Consequences of Mortality Selection on Cohort Trends in Life-Course Mortality Patterns and Epidemiologic Transition

Hui Zheng, Ohio State University

This paper proposes a conceptual framework to understand how the effects of mortality selection on cohort trends in life-course mortality pattern and epidemiologic transition may be shaped by different historical mechanisms for the decline in pandemics. Among early-transition countries, socioeconomic development suppressed pandemics and triggered a cohort evolution mechanism, yielding a moderate reduction in mortality selection at early ages that did not override cohort evolution mechanisms. In contrast, among later-transition countries, medical advancements did not trigger cohort evolution mechanisms, but instead generated a substantial reduction in mortality selection in early life. These different mortality selection processes generate different cohort trends in the pattern of mortality over the life-course, as well as different period trends in life expectancy and the age-dependence of mortality. Using the Human Mortality Database, we compare three epidemiologic transition models represented by Sweden, Japan, Poland and Bulgaria, and find support for this conceptual framework.

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Presented in Session 207: Early Life Health and Mortality in the Developing World