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An Econometric Analysis of the Mental-Health Effects of Major Events in the Life of Elderly Individuals


  • Lindeboom, Maarten
  • Portrait, France
  • van den Berg, Gerard J


Major events in the life of an elderly individual, such as retirement, a significant decrease in income, death of the spouse, disability, and a move to a nursing home, may affect the mental health status of the individual. For example, the individual may enter a prolonged depression. We investigate this using unique longitudinal panel data that track labour market behaviour, health status, and major life events, over time. To deal with endogenous aspects of these events we apply fixed effects estimation methods. We find some strikingly large effects of certain events on the occurrence of depression. We show that the results are of importance for the design of health care and labour market policy towards the elderly.

Suggested Citation

  • Lindeboom, Maarten & Portrait, France & van den Berg, Gerard J, 2001. "An Econometric Analysis of the Mental-Health Effects of Major Events in the Life of Elderly Individuals," CEPR Discussion Papers 3091, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3091

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hausman, Jerry A & Wise, David A, 1979. "Attrition Bias in Experimental and Panel Data: The Gary Income Maintenance Experiment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 455-473, March.
    2. Anne Case, 2004. "Does Money Protect Health Status? Evidence from South African Pensions," NBER Chapters,in: Perspectives on the Economics of Aging, pages 287-312 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. repec:pri:rpdevs:case_money_protect_nber is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Benzeval, Michaela & Judge, Ken, 2001. "Income and health: the time dimension," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 52(9), pages 1371-1390, May.
    5. repec:pri:cheawb:case_money_protect_nber is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Steven Stern, 1989. "Measuring the Effect of Disability on Labor Force Participation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(3), pages 361-395.
    7. Mundlak, Yair, 1978. "On the Pooling of Time Series and Cross Section Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 69-85, January.
    8. Marcel Kerkhofs & Maarten Lindeboom, 1997. "Age related health dynamics and changes in labour market status," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 6(4), pages 407-423.
    9. Ettner, Susan L., 1996. "New evidence on the relationship between income and health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 67-85, February.
    10. Gloria J. Bazzoli, 1985. "The Early Retirement Decision: New Empirical Evidence on the Influence of Health," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 20(2), pages 214-234.
    11. Gerard J. van den Berg & Maarten Lindeboom, 1998. "Attrition in Panel Survey Data and the Estimation of Multi-State Labor Market Models," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(2), pages 458-478.
    12. Ecob, Russell & Davey Smith, George, 1999. "Income and health: what is the nature of the relationship?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 48(5), pages 693-705, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ana Llena-Nozal & Maarten Lindeboom & France Portrait, 2004. "The effect of work on mental health: does occupation matter?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(10), pages 1045-1062.
    2. Axel Börsch-Supan & Hendrik Jürges, 2009. "Early Retirement, Social Security and Well-Being in Germany," NBER Chapters,in: Developments in the Economics of Aging, pages 173-199 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Schettkat, Ronald & Yocarini, Lara, 2001. "Education Driving the Rise in Dutch Female Employment: Explanations for the Increase in Part-time Work and Female Employment in the Netherlands, Contrasted with Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 407, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item


    care; death; depression; disease; endogeneity; fixed effects; health indicators; income loss; panel data; retirement; widowhood;

    JEL classification:

    • 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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