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Do Retiree Health Benefits Cause Early Retirement?

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  • David M. Linsenmeier

    (Princeton University)

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    Abstract

    I examine whether the availability of early retiree health benefits increases the likelihood of early retirement. Although there is a positive association between the availability of retiree health benefits and early retirement, this association could be driven by other factors that are correlated with retiree health benefits and affect retirement decisions. I build a simple model to show that individuals in poor health and with poor outside insurance options value retiree health benefits more. I then use variation in health status and outside insurance options to examine, within a difference-in-differences framework, whether the estimated correlation between retiree health benefits and early retirement reflects demand for health insurance. My results indicate that the effect of retiree health benefits is not statistically significantly larger for those in poor health, but that it is larger for those who lack insurance from other sources, particularly from their spouses. I conclude that retiree health benefits do increase the hazard of early retirement and that demand for health insurance among the near-elderly is not closely tied to health status.

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    File URL: http://wws-roxen.princeton.edu/chwpapers/papers/linsenmeier.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing. in its series Working Papers with number 260.

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    Date of creation: Nov 2002
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    Handle: RePEc:pri:cheawb:linsenmeier

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    1. Aaron, Henry J., 2001. "Handbook of Health Economics," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 847-854, September.
    2. Rogowski, Jeannette & Karoly, Lynn, 2000. "Health insurance and retirement behavior: evidence from the health and retirement survey," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 529-539, July.
    3. Jerry A. Hausman & David A. Wise, 1985. "Social Security, Health Status, and Retirement," NBER Chapters, in: Pensions, Labor, and Individual Choice, pages 159-192 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Jonathan Gruber & Brigitte C. Madrian, 2002. "Health Insurance, Labor Supply, and Job Mobility: A Critical Review of the Literature," NBER Working Papers 8817, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Robin L. Lumsdaine & James H. Stock & David A. Wise, 1994. "Pension Plan Provisions and Retirement: Men and Women, Medicare, and Models," NBER Chapters, in: Studies in the Economics of Aging, pages 183-222 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas & Penrod, John R. & Rosen, Harvey S., 1996. "Health insurance and the supply of entrepreneurs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1-2), pages 209-235, October.
    7. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1994. "Employer-provided health insurance and retirement behavior," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 48(1), pages 124-140, October.
    8. repec:att:wimass:9430 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Bound, John & Schoenbaum, Michael & Stinebrickner, Todd R. & Waidmann, Timothy, 1999. "The dynamic effects of health on the labor force transitions of older workers," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 179-202, June.
    10. John Rust & Christopher Phelan, 1997. "How Social Security and Medicare Affect Retirement Behavior in a World of Incomplete Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(4), pages 781-832, July.
    11. Cardon, James H & Hendel, Igal, 2001. "Asymmetric Information in Health Insurance: Evidence from the National Medical Expenditure Survey," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(3), pages 408-27, Autumn.
    12. Michael Hurd & Kathleen McGarry, 1993. "The Relationship Between Job Characteristics and Retirement," NBER Working Papers 4558, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Madrian, Brigitte C, 1994. "Employment-Based Health Insurance and Job Mobility: Is There Evidence of Job-Lock?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(1), pages 27-54, February.
    14. Lynn A. Karoly & Jeannette A. Rogowski, 1994. "The effect of access to post-retirement health insurance on the decision to retire early," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 48(1), pages 103-123, October.
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