Economic Consequences of Aging for Populations and Individuals

Demography

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 49-66

First online:

A theory of technophysio evolution, with some implications for forecasting population, health care costs, and pension costs

  • Robert W. FogelAffiliated withNational Bureau of Economic Research, University of Chicago Email author 
  • , Dora L. CostaAffiliated withNational Bureau of Economic Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Abstract

We argue that over the past 300 years human physiology has been undergoing profound environmentally induced changes made possible by numerous advances in technology. These changes, which we call technophysio evolution, increased body size by over 50%, and greatly improved the robustness and capacity of vital organ systems. Because technophysio evolution is still ongoing, it is relevant to forecasts of longevity and morbidity and, therefore, to forecasts of the size of the elderly population and pension and health care costs.