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Work Expectations, Realizations, and Depression in Older Workers

  • Tracy A. Falba
  • William T. Gallo
  • Jody L. Sindelar

We explore the impact on depressive symptoms of deviation in actual labor force behavior at age 62 from earlier expectations. Our sample of 4,241 observations is drawn from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). We examine workers who were less than 62 years of age at the 1992 HRS baseline, and who had reached age 62 by our study endpoint, enabling comparison of actual labor force withdrawal with earlier expectations. Poisson regression were used to estimate the impact of expected full-time work status on depressive symptoms; regressions are estimated separately for those working fulltime at age 62 and those not working fulltime. We found significant effects on depression at age 62 both for full-time workers who expected not to be working full-time, and for participants not working full-time who expected to be doing so. These results hold even after adjustment for earlier depressive symptoms, sociodemographic and other relevant controls. The findings suggest that working longer and retiring earlier than expected each may compromise psychological well-being. The current financial crisis may result in both scenarios as some workers may have to work longer than expected due to the decline in pension and other wealth while others may retire earlier due to job loss.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w14435.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14435.

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Date of creation: Oct 2008
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Publication status: published as Work expectations, realizations, and depression in older workers. Tracy A Falba, Jody L Sindelar, William T Gallo Economics Department, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA. The Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics (Impact Factor: 0.97). 12/2009; 12(4):175-86.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14435
Note: AG HC
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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  1. Blau, David M, 1998. "Labor Force Dynamics of Older Married Couples," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(3), pages 595-629, July.
  2. Michael D. Hurd, 1990. "The Joint Retirement Decision of Husbands and Wives," NBER Chapters, in: Issues in the Economics of Aging, pages 231-258 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Kathleen McGarry, 2004. "Health and Retirement: Do Changes in Health Affect Retirement Expectations?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(3).
  4. Lynn A. Karoly & Jeannette A. Rogowski, 1994. "The effect of access to post-retirement health insurance on the decision to retire early," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 48(1), pages 103-123, October.
  5. Gustman, Alan L & Steinmeier, Thomas L, 2000. "Retirement in Dual-Career Families: A Structural Model," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(3), pages 503-45, July.
  6. John Bound, 1991. "Self-Reported Versus Objective Measures of Health in Retirement Models," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(1), pages 106-138.
  7. T. Paul Schultz, 1999. "Labor Market Reforms: Issues, Evidence and Prospects," Working Papers 802, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  8. 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.
  9. Hugo Benítez-Silva & Debra S. Dwyer, 2005. "The Rationality of Retirement Expectations and the Role of New Information," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(3), pages 587-592, August.
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