Tempo Effects in Different Calculation Types of Period Death Rates

Christian Wegner


The question as to whether or not tempo effects distort the measurement of period mortality is controversial in recent demographic research. Only few publications, however, illustrate the underlying phenomenon of tempo effects, namely that the period death rate may increase although the mortality of all cohorts living during the analyzed period has fallen. Moreover, related literature only focuses on one of three methods to derive the age-specific death rate. This article primarily deals with the questions whether other methods of age-specific death rate are also affected by tempo effects in the logic of Bongaarts and Feeney and whether the tempo effect can be minimised solely by applying a specific method. The results demonstrate that all types of death rates are influenced by tempo effects and that different methods do not eliminate the influence of tempo effects. Nevertheless, it is necessary to distinguish between two types of tempo effects, which can be revealed in theoretical as well as empirical perspective.


Tempo effects; Death rate; Period mortality; Age-year-method; Cohort-year-method; Age-cohort-method; Tempo-adjusted life expectancy

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