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Health and Labor Force Participation of Older Men, 1900–1991

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  • Costa, Dora L.

Abstract

I use Body Mass Index (BMI) to investigate how the ralationship between health status and retirement among older men has changed since 1900. Although BMIs for the elderly were much less healthy in 1900 than today, the BMI level that maximizes labor force participation rates has not changed. However, in 1900 the elasticity of nonparticipation with respect to BMI was greater than it is today, suggesting that health is now less important to the retirement decision than in the past. Other factors (especially rising income) are more important than health in explaining the historical changes in retirement rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Costa, Dora L., 1996. "Health and Labor Force Participation of Older Men, 1900–1991," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(1), pages 62-89, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:56:y:1996:i:01:p:62-89_01
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    Cited by:

    1. Paul Schultz, T., 2003. "Wage rentals for reproducible human capital: evidence from Ghana and the Ivory Coast," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 331-366, December.
    2. Linares, Claudia & Su, Dejun, 2005. "Body mass index and health among Union Army veterans: 1891-1905," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 367-387, December.
    3. repec:eee:labchp:v:3:y:1999:i:pc:p:3309-3416 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Dora L. Costa, 2015. "Health and the Economy in the United States from 1750 to the Present," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 53(3), pages 503-570, September.
    5. Hong, Sok Chul, 2013. "Malaria: An early indicator of later disease and work level," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 612-632.
    6. Schultz, T. Paul, 2005. "Productive Benefits of Health: Evidence from Low-Income Countries," Center Discussion Papers 28532, Yale University, Economic Growth Center.
    7. Schultz, T. Paul, 2003. "Human capital, schooling and health," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 207-221, June.
    8. Susan W. Parker, 1999. "Elderly Health and Salaries in the Mexican Labor Market," Research Department Publications 3051, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    9. Schultz, T. Paul, 2010. "Population and Health Policies," Handbook of Development Economics,, Elsevier.
    10. Pelkowski, Jodi Messer & Berger, Mark C., 2004. "The impact of health on employment, wages, and hours worked over the life cycle," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 102-121, February.
    11. T. Paul Schultz, 2003. "Human Capital, Schooling and Health Returns," Working Papers 853, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
    12. Dora Costa & Richard H. Steckel, 1997. "Long-Term Trends in Health, Welfare, and Economic Growth in the United States," NBER Chapters, in: Health and Welfare during Industrialization, pages 47-90, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. William D. Savedoff & T. Paul Schultz, 2000. "Earnings and the Elusive Dividends of Health," Research Department Publications 3108, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    14. John Giles & Ren Mu, 2007. "Elderly parent health and the migration decisions of adult children: Evidence from rural China," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 44(2), pages 265-288, May.
    15. Salam Abdus & Peter Rangazas, 2011. "Adult Nutrition and Growth," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 14(4), pages 636-649, October.
    16. Mete, Cem & Schultz, T. Paul, 2002. "Health and Labor Force Participation of the Elderly in Taiwan," Center Discussion Papers 28470, Yale University, Economic Growth Center.
    17. Achyuta Adhvaryu & Anant Nyshadham, 2011. "Labor Supply, Schooling and the Returns to Healthcare in Tanzania," Working Papers 995, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
    18. repec:eee:labchp:v:3:y:1999:i:pc:p:3417-3528 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Daniel K. Fetter & Lee M. Lockwood, 2018. "Government Old-Age Support and Labor Supply: Evidence from the Old Age Assistance Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(8), pages 2174-2211, August.
    20. Sok Chul Hong, 2011. "Malaria: An Early Indicator of Later Disease and Work Level," Working Papers 1110, Research Institute for Market Economy, Sogang University.
    21. Ebaidalla Mahjoub Ebaidalla & Mohammed Elhaj Mustafa Ali, 2018. "Chronic Illness and Labor Market Participation in Arab Countries: Evidence from Egypt and Tunisia," Working Papers 1229, Economic Research Forum, revised 10 Oct 2018.
    22. Livio Di Matteo, 2008. "Wealth accumulation motives: evidence from the probate records of Ontario, 1892 and 1902," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 2(2), pages 143-171, July.
    23. Fan, Elliott & Zhao, Ruoyun, 2009. "Health status and portfolio choice: Causality or heterogeneity?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 1079-1088, June.

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