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The Health Gradient and Early Retirement: Evidence from the German Socio-economic Panel

  • Gisela Hostenkamp
  • Michael Stolpe

This paper examines the role of the health gradient ; the positive correlation between household income and health – in individual retirement behavior, using data from the German Socio-economic Panel (GSOEP). We first estimate agegroup-specific health gradients and find their slope increases with age, but declines among retired workers. We then estimate a variety of parametric and semi-parametric duration models and find that workers’ position relative to the agegroup-specific health gradient has about the same explanatory power as self-assessed health and income together. We argue our method promises better predictions of the long-term impact of policies affecting the health gradient on workers' timing of retirement amid population aging. Our findings also underline the importance of imperfect medical technology in reconciling the human capital theory of health demand with the observation of more rapid declines in health among less educated workers.

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File URL: https://www.ifw-members.ifw-kiel.de/publications/the-health-gradient-and-early-retirement-evidence-from-the-german-socio-economic-panel-1/kap1305.pdf
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Paper provided by Kiel Institute for the World Economy in its series Kiel Working Papers with number 1305.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kie:kieliw:1305
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  1. Paul Frijters & John Haisken-DeNew & Michael Shields, 2005. "Socio-Economic Status, Health Shocks, Life Satisfaction and Mortality: Evidence from an Increasing Mixed Proportional Hazard Model," CEPR Discussion Papers 496, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  2. Anne Case & Angus S. Deaton, 2005. "Broken Down by Work and Sex: How Our Health Declines," NBER Chapters, in: Analyses in the Economics of Aging, pages 185-212 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Axel Börsch-Supan & Hendrik Jürges, 2006. "Early Retirement, Social Security and Well-Being in Germany," NBER Working Papers 12303, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Michaud, P.C. & van Soest, A.H.O., 2004. "Health and Wealth of Elderly Couples : Causality Tests Using Dynamic Panel Data Models," Discussion Paper 2004-81, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  5. Larsen, Mona & Datta Gupta, Nabanita, 2004. "The Impact of Health on Individual Retirement Plans: a Panel Analysis comparing Selfreported versus Diagnostic Measures," Working Papers 04-7, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
  6. Axel Börsch-Supan & Reinhold Schnabel & Simone Kohnz & Giovanni Mastrobuoni, 2004. "Micro-Modeling of Retirement Decisions in Germany," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Programs and Retirement around the World: Micro-Estimation, pages 285-344 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. James P. Smith, 1999. "Healthy Bodies and Thick Wallets: The Dual Relation between Health and Economic Status," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 145-166, Spring.
  8. Kathleen McGarry, 2002. "Health and Retirement: Do Changes in Health Affect Retirement Expectations?," NBER Working Papers 9317, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Bender, Keith A. & Habermalz, Steffen, 2005. "Are There Differences in the Health-Socioeconomic Status Relationship over the Life Cycle? Evidence from Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 1560, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Sikandar Siddiqui, 1997. "The impact of health on retirement behaviour: empirical evidence from West Germany," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 6(4), pages 425-438.
  11. Jonathan Gruber & David A. Wise, 2004. "Social Security Programs and Retirement around the World: Micro-Estimation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number grub04-1, August.
  12. Deaton, Angus S & Paxson, Christina H, 1998. "Aging and Inequality in Income and Health," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 248-53, May.
  13. Ronald Hagan & Andrew M. Jones & Nigel Rice, 2006. "Health and retirement in Europe," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 06/10, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  14. Andrew M. Jones & Eddy van Doorslaer & Teresa Bago d'Uva & Silvia Balia & Lynn Gambin & Cristina Hernández Quevedo & Xander Koolman & Nigel Rice, 2006. "Health and Wealth: Empirical Findings and Political Consequences," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 7(s1), pages 93-112, 05.
  15. Muurinen, Jaana-Marja, 1982. "Demand for health: A generalised Grossman model," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 5-28, May.
  16. Bernard M.S. van Praag & B.E. Baarsma, 2001. "The Shadow Price of Aircraft Noise Nuisance," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 01-010/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  17. Eddy van Doorslaer & Andrew M. Jones, 2004. "Income-related inequality in health and health care in the European Union," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(7), pages 605-608.
  18. Muurinen, Jaana-Marja & Le Grand, Julian, 1985. "The economic analysis of inequalities in health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 20(10), pages 1029-1035, January.
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  20. Peter Adams & Michael D. Hurd & Daniel L. McFadden & Angela Merrill & Tiago Ribeiro, 2004. "Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise? Tests for Direct Causal Paths between Health and Socioeconomic Status," NBER Chapters, in: Perspectives on the Economics of Aging, pages 415-526 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Michael Grossman, 1972. "The Demand for Health: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gros72-1, August.
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