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Human Lifetime Entropy in a Historical Perspective (1750-2014)

Patrick Meyer () and Gregory Ponthiere ()
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Patrick Meyer: Lab-STICC_TB_CID_DECIDE - Lab-STICC - Laboratoire des sciences et techniques de l'information, de la communication et de la connaissance - UEB - Université européenne de Bretagne - European University of Brittany - ENIB - École Nationale d'Ingénieurs de Brest - UBS - Université de Bretagne Sud - UBO - Université de Brest - Télécom Bretagne - IBNM - Institut Brestois du Numérique et des Mathématiques - UBO - Université de Brest - ENSTA Bretagne - École Nationale Supérieure de Techniques Avancées Bretagne - IMT - Institut Mines-Télécom [Paris] - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, LUSSI - Département Logique des Usages, Sciences sociales et Sciences de l'Information - UEB - Université européenne de Bretagne - European University of Brittany - Télécom Bretagne - IMT - Institut Mines-Télécom [Paris]

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Abstract: Although it is widely acknowledged that life is risky, it is difficult to provide an intuitive indicator of the riskiness of life, whose metric would have a concrete counterpart for the layman. This paper uses the Shannon entropy index to the base 2 to quantify, in terms of bits (i.e. the amount of information revealed by tossing a fair coin), the risk relative to the age at death in 37 countries from the Human Mortality Database. We identify 5 major stylized facts: (1) over the last two centuries, (period) life entropy at birth exhibits an inverted U shape pattern with a maximum in the first half of the 20th century (at about 6 bits); (2) over the last 150 years, Western countries have converged in terms of (period) life entropy at birth towards levels of 5.6 bits for men and 5.5 bits for women; (3) curves of (period) life entropy at birth for men and women crossed during the 20th century; (4) the entropy age profi le shifted from a non-monotonic profi le (in the 18th and 19th centuries) to a strictly decreasing pro file (in the 20th and 21th centuries); (5) men exhibit a higher life entropy than women below ages 50-55, and a lower one after ages 50-55.

Keywords: age at death; longevity; entropy; measurement; mortality risk (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016-12
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01409679
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Related works:
Journal Article: Human lifetime entropy in a historical perspective (1750–2014) (2020) Downloads
Journal Article: Human lifetime entropy in a historical perspective (1750–2014) (2020) Downloads
Working Paper: Human lifetime entropy in a historical perspective (1750–2014) (2020)
Working Paper: Human lifetime entropy in a historical perspective (1750–2014) (2020)
Working Paper: Human Lifetime Entropy in a Historical Perspective (1750-2014) (2019) Downloads
Working Paper: Human Lifetime Entropy in a Historical Perspective (1750-2014) (2016) Downloads
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