How Long Do We Live?

Demographic Models and Reflections on Tempo Effects

  • Elisabetta Barbi
  • James W. Vaupel
  • John Bongaarts

Part of the Demographic Research Monographs book series (DEMOGRAPHIC)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages I-XIII
  2. How long do we live? Demographic models and reflections on tempo effects: An introduction

  3. Theoretical basis for the mortality tempo effect

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 9-9
    2. John Bongaarts, Griffith Feeney
      Pages 11-27
    3. John Bongaarts, Griffith Feeney
      Pages 29-65
  4. Critiques, extensions and applications of the mortality tempo effect

  5. Comparison of period and cohort measures of longevity

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 235-235
    2. John Bongaarts
      Pages 237-245
  6. Conclusions

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 261-261
    2. John Bongaarts, Griffith Feeney
      Pages 263-269
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 281-284

About this book


The most widely used measure of longevity is the period life expectancy at birth which is calculated from age specific death rates by life table methods. In 2002, John Bongaarts and Griffith Feeney introduced the revolutionary idea that this conventional estimate of period life expectancy is distorted by a tempo effect whenever longevity is changing. The tempo effect is defined as an inflation or deflation of the period incidence of a demographic event resulting from a rise or fall in the mean age at which the event occurs. Some demographers agree with this radical argument; others disagree. The book reviews the debate on how best to measure period longevity. In the various chapters, leading experts in demography critically examine the existence of the tempo effect in mortality, present extensions and applications, and compare period and cohort longevity measures. The book provides a deeper understanding of and new insights into the fundamental question "How long do we live"?


Demography Life Expectancy Longevity Measure Period and Cohort Measures Tempo Effect

Editors and affiliations

  • Elisabetta Barbi
    • 1
  • James W. Vaupel
    • 2
  • John Bongaarts
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Economics, Statistics, Mathematics and Sociology “W. Pareto”University of MessinaMessinaItaly
  2. 2.Max Planck Institute for Demographic ResearchRostockGermany
  3. 3.Population CouncilNew YorkUSA

Bibliographic information

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