The life expectancy implied by current age-specific mortality rates is calculated with life table methods that are among the oldest and most fundamental tools of demography. We demonstrate that these conventional estimates of period life expectancy are affected by an undesirable “tempo effect.” The tempo effect is positive when the mean age at death is rising and negative when the mean age is declining. Estimates of the effect for females in three countries with high and rising life expectancy range from 1.6 years in the United States and Sweden to 2.4 years in France for the period 1980-95.
Bongaarts, John and Griffith Feeney. 2003. "Estimating mean lifetime," Policy Research Division Working Paper no. 179. New York: Population Council. Version of record: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2035060100