Mortality Tempo: A Guide for the Skeptic

  • Griffith Feeney
Keywords: Mortality, Period mortality, Death rate, Tempo effects, Tempo distortion, Tempo adjustment, Mortality tempo, Bongaarts – Feeney


The idea of mortality tempo effects derives from the idea of fertility tempo effects, which were introduced by Norman B. Ryder and are widely known and accepted. Given the essential similarity of the ideas, it might be regarded as curious that mortality tempo effects have only recently been recognized and are not as yet generally accepted. The explanation for this may be that mortality tempo effects have implications that seem to be at variance with established ways of modeling and analyzing mortality and population dynamics. This paper develops a discrete approach to describing and analyzing mortality tempo effects. The discrete approach is mathematically undemanding, yet powerful. It is used here, for example, to define age-specific tempo effects. The focus of this work is the measurement of length of life in empirical populations. It is shown that any empirical population may be approximated by a suitably constructed discrete model population.
How to Cite
Feeney, G. 2011. Mortality Tempo: A Guide for the Skeptic. Comparative Population Studies. 35, 3 (Sep. 2011). DOI: