The Health Consequences of Retirement
This paper examines the impact of retirement on individuals’ health. Declines in health commonly compel workers to retire, so the challenge is to disentangle the simultaneous causal effects. The estimation strategy employs an instrumental variables specification. The instrument is based on workers’ self-reported probabilities of working past ages 62 and 65, taken from the first period in which they are observed. Results indicate that the retirement effect on health is beneficial and significant. Investigation into behavioral data, such as smoking and exercise, suggests that retirement may affect health through such channels. With additional leisure time, many retirees practice healthier habits.
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