Of late, Greg Mankiw has been trying hard to show that the US life expectancy is not as high as it should be because of a large number of “unnatural” deaths such as homicides, accidents, etc. Through this he tries to make a point that the healthcare system in the US is just fine, and it doesn’t need to be nationalized, as has been done in Canada and the UK. In this regard, today he publishes a table with “normalized” expectancies, where the effect of unnatural deaths is taken out.
I’m no expert in this but I have a hunch that the quality of life and healthcare in your childhood, growth, lifestyle, etc. have a much higher impact on expectancy than the kind of healthcare available in the latter stages of your life. So assume that by now (i’m 24) my life expectancy is more or less decided, but for unnatural circumstances (i’m assuming here that my lifestyle won’t depend on where i live). So won’t I want to live where my chances of dying due to unnatural circumstances are minimal?
I’m trying to use Mankiw’s data and tryign to figure out what is the probability of an unnatural death in each country. For that, we will need one other data point – that is the average age of unnatural death. Anyways, for now, if I assume that the average age of unnatural death is 40, then in the US, you have a 4.3% chance of dying unnaturally, compared to less than 2% in Germany and 0.3% in the UK. If the average age of unnatural death is 30, then you have a 3.4% chance of getting killed in the US, as compared to 1.5% in Germany and yet another abysmally low number in the UK.
So where do you want to live?
Anyways I have a few questions regarding this
1. What is the average age of death due to unnatural causes? What would be a good estimation of it?
2. Irrespective of this number, it is clear that the proportion of unnatural deaths in the US is much higher than in Europe. Any reasons for this?
3. For? a few countries (Italy, Japan, Canada, etc.) the standardized number is actually less than the observed number. Why could this be so?