25 October 2019 - 26 October 2019
Lisbon, Portugal

The socio-economics of ageing

IIASA researchers Sonja Spitzer and Daniela Weber will discuss health issues of older Europeans at the 6th International Workshop on the Socio-Economics of Ageing.

Street of Meknes, Morocco © Hoang Bao Nguyen | Dreamstime.com

Street of Meknes, Morocco © Hoang Bao Nguyen | Dreamstime.com

The 6th International Workshop on the Socio-Economics of Ageing provides a forum for the presentation and discussion of topics related to population ageing, one of the most important social transformations of our times.
Research on ageing transcends disciplinary boundaries and this is reflected in the multiple dimensions covered in the workshop which is organized by the Lisboa School of Economics and Management (ISEG), University of Lisbon.  

World Population Program researcher Sonja Spitzer will give a presentation titled "Health misperception and healthcare utilisation of older Europeans." Spitzer is a predoctoral researcher at the World Population Program at IIASA. She is a population economist working on health, ageing, and economic wellbeing over the life course. She tackles questions related to healthy ageing as well as the economic impact of life events on households, examples are retirement or the birth of a child. She is particularly interested in issues related to survey data, for example, weighting adjustments or the evaluation of self-reported measures with objective information. For her research, she applies econometric as well as demographic methods. 

Daniela Weber will give a presentation titled "Reporting biases in self-assessed physical and cognitive health status of older Europeans" at this conference. Weber is a mathematician and statistician with a focus on aging and health, whereas the international perspective is of particular interest to her. At IIASA, Weber develops new measures of aging and investigates socioeconomic and behavioral determinants of cognitive as well as physical aging.

For detailed information please visit the event website.

Presentation abstract

Title: Health misperception and healthcare utilisation of older Europeans 

Speaker: Sonja Spitzer, Co-author: Mujaheed Shaikh 

Session: E1, Health status and health perception, 11.15AM-12:45PM

Abstract: Understanding the drivers of healthcare utilisation in Europe is of utmost importance in the context of rapid population ageing and increasing public health expenditure. This paper explores individual health perception biases as a potential determinant of doctor visits and concomitant out-of-pocket expenditure. Based on longitudinal data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe, we observe how biased beliefs about health status affect healthcare utilisation of the population 50+ in 15 European countries. Using biomeasures and their self-reported equivalents, we find that individuals who underestimate their health visit the doctor more often than individuals who correctly assess their health. The higher healthcare utilisation is accompanied by larger out-of-pocket payments. By contrast, individuals that overestimate their health visit the doctor less often and have lower out-of-pocket payments. The effects are larger for men, which is particularly relevant given the well documented gender differences in healthcare seeking behaviour.

Presentation abstract

Title: Reporting biases in self-assessed physical and cognitive health status of older Europeans

Speaker: Daniela Weber, Co-author: Sonja Spitzer

Session: E1, Health status and health perception, 11.15AM-12:45PM

Abstract: This paper explores which demographic characteristics substantially bias self-reported physical and cognitive health status of older Europeans. The analysis utilises micro-data for 19 European countries from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe to compare performance-tested outcomes of mobility and memory with their self-reported equivalents. Relative importance analysis based on multinomial logistic regressions shows that the bias in self-reported health is mostly due to reporting heterogeneities between countries and age groups, whereas gender contributes little to the discrepancy. Concordance of mobility and cognition measures is highly related; however, differences in reporting behaviour due to education and cultural background have a larger impact on self-assessed memory than on self-assessed mobility. Southern as well as Central and Eastern Europeans are much more likely to misreport their physical and cognitive abilities than Northern and Western Europeans. Overall, our results suggest that comparisons of self-reported health between countries and age groups are prone to significant biases, whereas comparisons between genders are credible for most European countries. These findings are crucial given that self-assessed data are often the only information available to researchers and policymakers when asking health-related questions.


Print this page

Last edited: 16 October 2019

CONTACT DETAILS

Sonja Spitzer

Research Assistant

World Population

T +43(0) 2236 807 568

Daniela Weber

Research Scholar

World Population

T +43(0) 2236 807 232

Research at the World Population Program

POPNET Newsletter

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313