### From magical thinking to statistical thinking

#### (Dec 4, 2019)

The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries in the UK has recently added mortality projection to its syllabus, so this year I have been teaching the subject for the first time to students at Heriot-Watt University.

As an exercise, I asked the students to imagine they were an actuary back in 1980, and to first fit a Lee-Carter model to data from the Human Mortality Database for males in England and Wales, 1940-1980.  Then the students had to project the fitted mortality surface forward 25 years, to 2005.  This is easily done using some R programs written by Iain Currie for our recent book, Macdonald, Richards and Currie (2018). The programs $$\tt Lee\_Carter.r$$ and $$\tt Forecast\_LC.r$$ referred to there are freely…