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Work ‘til You Drop: Short- and Longer-Term Health Effects of Retirement in Europe

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Declining fertility rates and increasing life expectancy necessitate a higher labor participation rate among older people in order to sustain pension systems and boost economic growth. At the same time, researchers have only recently begun to pay attention to the health effects of a longer working life, with rather mixed results thus far. Utilizing panel data from eleven European countries, and two distinct identification strategies to deal with endogeneity, we provide new evidence of the health effects of retirement.In contrast to prior research, we analyze both the impact of being retired and the effect of spending longer time in retirement. Using spouses’ characteristics as instruments, while taking precautions to ensure validity, we find a robust, negative impact of being retired and spending longer time in retirement on selfassessed, general, mental and physical health.In addition, we show that the impact on selfassessed health remains similar in models using instruments from previous research while also including individual- and time-fixed effects to remove time-invariant unobserved heterogeneity between individuals as well as common health shocks.Overall, the results suggest that this innovation and the fact that we take lagged effects into account explain the differences in comparison to prior multi-country research using these instruments. While the short-term health impact of retirement in Europe remains uncertain, the medium- to long-term effects appear to be negative and economically large.

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  • Sahlgren, Gabriel H., 2012. "Work ‘til You Drop: Short- and Longer-Term Health Effects of Retirement in Europe," Working Paper Series 928, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0928
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    Cited by:

    1. Peter Eibich, 2014. "Understanding the Effect of Retirement on Health Using Regression Discontinuity Design," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 669, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    2. Johannes Hagen, 2018. "The effects of increasing the normal retirement age on health care utilization and mortality," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 31(1), pages 193-234, January.
    3. Hernán Bejarano & Hillard Kaplan & Stephen Rassenti, 2014. "Effects of Retirement and Lifetime Earnings Profile on Health Investment," Working Papers 14-21, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    4. Eibich, Peter, 2015. "Understanding the effect of retirement on health: Mechanisms and heterogeneity," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 1-12.
    5. Pedron, Sara & Maier, Werner & Peters, Annette & Linkohr, Birgit & Meisinger, Christine & Rathmann, Wolfgang & Eibich, Peter & Schwettmann, Lars, 2020. "The effect of retirement on biomedical and behavioral risk factors for cardiovascular and metabolic disease," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 38(C).
    6. Ingrid Djukanović & Jörg Carlsson & Ulla Peterson, 2016. "Group discussions with structured reminiscence and a problem‐based method as an intervention to prevent depressive symptoms in older people," Journal of Clinical Nursing, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 25(7-8), pages 992-1000, April.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Health; Retirement; SHARE; SHARELIFE;

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • 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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