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The Impact of Health Insurance Availability on Retirement Decision Reversals


  • Joshua Congdon-Hohman

    (University of Michigan)


This paper uses the longitudinal aspect of the Health and Retirement Survey to explore the characteristics associated with reversals in retirement (referred to here as "unretirement"). Through the use of survival time analysis, this paper show that health insurance plays a significant role in unretirement decisions. This role is underestimated when a static probit analysis is used alone. The results hold up for a number of different retirement identifiers that are based both on self-reports of retirement and actual work levels. The results are also robust to various definitions of retirement prompted by the difficult question of how to classify partial retirements. The importance of health insurance provision in a retiree’s decision also remains significant when other "shocks" and the prospect of planned unretirement are introduced.

Suggested Citation

  • Joshua Congdon-Hohman, 2006. "The Impact of Health Insurance Availability on Retirement Decision Reversals," Working Papers wp137, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp137

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Berkovec, James & Stern, Steven, 1991. "Job Exit Behavior of Older Men," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(1), pages 189-210, January.
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    3. Gruber, Jonathan & Madrian, Brigitte C, 1995. "Health-Insurance Availability and the Retirement Decision," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 938-948, September.
    4. John Rust & Christopher Phelan, 1997. "How Social Security and Medicare Affect Retirement Behavior in a World of Incomplete Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(4), pages 781-832, July.
    5. Lumsdaine, Robin L. & Mitchell, Olivia S., 1999. "New developments in the economic analysis of retirement," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 49, pages 3261-3307 Elsevier.
    6. Robin L. Lumsdaine & James H. Stock & David A. Wise, 1992. "Pension Plan Provisions and Retirement: Men & Women, Medicare, and Models," NBER Working Papers 4201, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1994. "Employer-Provided Health Insurance and Retirement Behavior," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 48(1), pages 124-140, October.
    8. Ruhm, Christopher J, 1990. "Bridge Jobs and Partial Retirement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(4), pages 482-501, October.
    9. Richard W. Johnson & Amy J. Davidoff & Kevin Perese, 2003. "Health Insurance Costs and Early Retirement Decisions," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(4), pages 716-729, July.
    10. Nicole Maestas, 2004. "Back to Work: Expectations and Realizations of Work After Retirement," Working Papers wp085, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    11. Rogowski, Jeannette & Karoly, Lynn, 2000. "Health insurance and retirement behavior: evidence from the health and retirement survey," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 529-539, July.
    12. Stock, James H & Wise, David A, 1990. "Pensions, the Option Value of Work, and Retirement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(5), pages 1151-1180, September.
    13. Lynn A. Karoly & Jeannette A. Rogowski, 1994. "The Effect of Access to Post-Retirement Health Insurance on the Decision to Retire Early," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 48(1), pages 103-123, October.
    14. Nicole Maestas, 2004. "Back to Work Expectations and Realizations of Work after Retirement," Working Papers WR-196, RAND Corporation.
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    Cited by:

    1. Joshua Congdon-Hohman, 2015. "Love, Toil, And Health Insurance: Why American Husbands Retire When They Do," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 33(1), pages 118-140, January.

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