The immediate effect of discovering a way to cure cancer would be a reduction in the number of deaths in the United States by the number of people now dying from that cause. Within a short time, however, deaths from other causes would increase, and the net long-term effect would be relatively small. A parameter is derived that measures how much the expectation of life is increased by a marginal reduction in any cause of death. That parameter is additive in the several causes and has other advantages, though it does not avoid the assumption of independence.
This is a preview of subscription content,to check access.
Access this article
Demetrius, L. 1976. Measures of Variability in Age-Structured Populations. Journal of Theoretical Biology 63:397–404.
Keyfitz, Nathan. 1977. Applied Mathematical Demography. New York: John Wiley and Sons.
Manton, K. G., H. D. Tolley, and S. S. Poss. 1976. Life Table Techniques for Multiple-Cause Mortality. Demography 13:541–564.
Preston, S. H. 1974. Effect of Mortality Change on Stable Population Parameters. Demography 11:119–130.
Shepard, Donald, and R. Zeckhauser. 1975. The Assessment of Programs to Prolong Life, Recognizing their Interaction with Risk Factors. Discussion Paper 320. Cambridge, Mass.: Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.
About this article
Cite this article
Keyfitz, N. What difference would it make if cancer were eradicated? An examination of the taeuber paradox. Demography 14, 411–418 (1977). https://doi.org/10.2307/2060587