The economic value of aging: economics


The development of life expectancy and the increasing emphasis on biology and “healthy” aging have raised many important questions for health scientists and economists. Is it to make life healthier by reducing morbidity, or to extend life by extending it? Compared with efforts to eradicate specific diseases, what are the benefits of targeting aging itself? Here, we analyze existing data to assess the economic value of life expectancy extension, health improvement, and treatments for aging. We show that improving health’s morbidity compression is more valuable than a further increase in life expectancy, and that targeting aging may provide greater economic benefits than eradicating individual diseases. We show that the aging slowdown that extends life expectancy by 1 year is worth US$38 trillion, and 10 years is worth US$367 trillion. Ultimately, the more progress made in improving the way we age, the greater the value of further improvements.

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