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Are Older Men Healthy Enough to Work?

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  • Alicia H. Munnell
  • Mauricio Soto
  • Alex Golub-Sass

Abstract

Since the mid-1960s, the median retirement age for men has declined from 66 to 63. If Americans continue to retire at age 63, a great many will risk income shortfalls, especially at older ages. This risk is even greater for those currently nearing retirement who have recently seen a large portion of their nest eggs evaporate. Work directly increases current income, Social Security benefits, and retirement saving, and decreases the length of retirement. But are Americans healthy enough to work longer? Life expectancy has been steadily increasing, but disparities in health and mortality outcomes have widened and the improvement in health outcomes for the population in general may have slowed or even reversed. In determining whether people will be able to work longer, it is not simply measuring how long they will live, but rather how much longer they will be capable of working. Life expectancy may be increasing, but can the same be said for healthy, disability-free life expectancy? This brief uses the National Health Interview Survey to estimate trends in disability-free life expectancy for men at age 50…

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File URL: http://crr.bc.edu/briefs/are-older-men-healthy-enough-to-work/
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Center for Retirement Research in its series Issues in Brief with number ib2008-8-17.

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Length: 9 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2008
Date of revision: Oct 2008
Handle: RePEc:crr:issbrf:ib2008-8-17

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  1. Currie, Janet & Madrian, Brigitte C., 1999. "Health, health insurance and the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 50, pages 3309-3416 Elsevier.
  2. Feldstein, Martin & Liebman, Jeffrey B., 2002. "Social security," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 32, pages 2245-2324 Elsevier.
  3. Jeffrey Brown & Jeffrey B. Liebman & Joshua Pollet, 2002. "Appendix. Estimating Life Tables That Reflect Socioeconomic Differences In Mortality," NBER Chapters, in: The Distributional Aspects of Social Security and Social Security Reform, pages 447-458 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. David M. Cutler & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2006. "Education and Health: Evaluating Theories and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 12352, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Beth J. Soldo & Olivia S. Mitchell & Rania Tfaily & John F. McCabe, 2006. "Cross-Cohort Differences in Health on the Verge of Retirement," NBER Working Papers 12762, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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