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The health implications of social pensions: Evidence from China's new rural pension scheme

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  • Cheng, Lingguo
  • Liu, Hong
  • Zhang, Ye
  • Zhao, Zhong

Abstract

This paper estimates the causal effect of income on health outcomes of the elderly and investigates underlying mechanisms by exploiting an income change induced by the launch of China's New Rural Pension scheme (NRPS). Using this policy experiment, we address the endogeneity of pension income by applying a fixed-effect model with instrumental variable correction. The results reveal that pension enrollment and income from the NRPS both have had a significant beneficial impact on objective measures of physical health and cognitive function of the rural elderly. Pension recipients respond to the newly acquired pension income in multiple ways: improved nutrition intake, better accessibility to health care, increased informal care, increased leisure activities, and better self-perceived relative economic situation. These in turn act as channels from pension income to health outcomes of the Chinese rural elderly.

Suggested Citation

  • Cheng, Lingguo & Liu, Hong & Zhang, Ye & Zhao, Zhong, 2018. "The health implications of social pensions: Evidence from China's new rural pension scheme," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 53-77.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:46:y:2018:i:1:p:53-77
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jce.2016.12.002
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Pension income; Health; Channels; Elderly; China;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination

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