A Unifying Framework for Assessing Changes in Life Expectancy Associated with Changes in Mortality: The Case of Violent Deaths
Keywords: Accidents, Cause-Deleted Life Tables, Decomposition, Entropy, Violent Deaths
Policymakers often require an assessment of possible gains in life expectancy that could results from a large-scale public health campaign aimed at reducing mortality for specific ages and causes of death. Equally important is assessing the contribution of observed decline in a particular cause of death on observed gains in life expectancy. For over forty years, demographers have worked intensively to develop methods that address these important issues. As yet, there has been no framework unifying these important works. In this paper, we provide a unifying framework for assessing the change in life expectancy given any conceivable change in age and cause-specific mortality. We consider both conceptualizations of mortality change–counterfactual assessment of a hypothetical change and a retrospective assessment of an observed change. We apply our methodology to violent deaths, the leading cause of death among young adults, and show that realistic targeted reductions could have important impacts on life expectancy.