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Mental Retirement

Author

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  • Susann Rohwedder
  • Robert J. Willis

Abstract

Early retirement appears to have a significant negative impact on the cognitive ability of people in their early 60s that is both quantitatively important and causal. We obtain this finding using cross-nationally comparable survey data from the United States, England, and Europe that allow us to relate cognition and labor force status. We argue that the effect is causal by making use of a substantial body of research showing that variation in pension, tax, and disability policies explain most variation across countries in average retirement rates. (In an informal manner, we are arguing that public policies that affect the age of retirement may be used as instrumental variables to generate cross-country variation in retirement behavior in order to identify the causal effect of retirement on cognition.)

Suggested Citation

  • Susann Rohwedder & Robert J. Willis, 2010. "Mental Retirement," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(1), pages 119-138, Winter.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:24:y:2010:i:1:p:119-38
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.24.1.119
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Coe, Norma B. & Zamarro, Gema, 2011. "Retirement effects on health in Europe," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 77-86, January.
    2. Bonsang, Eric & Adam, Stéphane & Perelman, Sergio, 2012. "Does retirement affect cognitive functioning?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 490-501.
    3. Yoram Ben-Porath, 1967. "The Production of Human Capital and the Life Cycle of Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 352-352.
    4. Heckman, James J, 1995. "Lessons from the Bell Curve," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(5), pages 1091-1120, October.
    5. Neal, Derek A & Johnson, William R, 1996. "The Role of Premarket Factors in Black-White Wage Differences," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 869-895, October.
    6. Jonathan Gruber & David A. Wise, 1999. "Social Security and Retirement around the World," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number grub99-1.
    7. Jonathan Gruber & David A. Wise, 1999. "Introduction to "Social Security and Retirement around the World"," NBER Chapters,in: Social Security and Retirement around the World, pages 1-35 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies

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