Estimating that Technological Progress Accounts for Half of the Gains in Life Span Since the 1960s

Researchers here build an economic model of technological progress and its impact on human life span. The model suggests that advances in technology account for half of the gains in life span from the 1960s on. This is in much the same ballpark as other initiatives that have asked similar questions regarding the causes of the slow upward trend in human longevity over the past century or more.

Life expectancy at birth is presently increasing at something like two years per decade, while remaining life expectancy at 65 is increasing at one year per decade. We should expect this trend to leap upward as the first rejuvenation therapies to deliberately target the mechanisms of aging enter widespread use. Past gains were achieved almost accidentally, as no meaningful efforts were made at the time to directly address the causes of aging. That state of affairs has now changed, and we should expect better outcomes as a result.

We estimate a stochastic life-cycle model of endogenous health spending, asset accumulation, and retirement to investigate the causes behind the increase in health spending and longevity in the United States over the period 1965-2005. Accounting for changes over time in taxes, transfers, Social Security, income, health insurance, smoking and obesity, and technological progress, we estimate that technological progress is responsible for half of the increase in life expectancy over the period.

Substantial growth in health spending over the period is largely the result of growth in economic resources and the generosity of health insurance, with a modest role for medical technological progress. The growth in spending does not come from changes in a single source, but sources jointly interacted to increase spending: complementarity effects explain up to 26.3% of the increase in health spending. Overall, for those born in 1940, the combined changes in resources and health insurance that occurred over the period are valued at 35.7% of lifetime consumption.



Why don't a rich person set up what I call "proof-of-concept" company to test all SRF hypotheses much like a CRO. If some of the 7 strains work they can develop them further.

Posted by: Gekki at March 17th, 2021 11:01 AM

Here's an obvious point, but one maybe worth mentioning: In order to make real and rapid progress here, we need some true geniuses on the order of Leonardo, Edison, Einstein, and Jobs to take up longevity science.

Posted by: Tom Williams at March 18th, 2021 4:58 AM

@Tom Williams
For sure or would not hurt to get such people on the anti-aging bandwagon. However, you are listing the ones that were successful in no small part by luck.

For example, Ramanujan is a recognized math genius yet his discoveries are so niche and obscure that the name is quite unknown. Physics had many minds with IQ well over 140 for the last few decades. We still don't have commercial fusion reactor nor a unified theory. Damn, even room temperature superconductors are elusive.

Biology 🧫 requires a lot of experiments . The most logical theories where beaten by the irrational pathways.

What is needed is a bright person with excellent organizational skills and financial backing. Someone like Elon Musk. He would fit perfectly, not only for his money, of which he now has plenty but also the ability to push and do the simmingly the impossible... Alas, he's not interested.

Posted by: Cuberat at March 18th, 2021 9:30 AM
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