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Retirement and cognitive development: are the retired really inactive?

  • Grip Andries de
  • Dupuy Arnaud
  • Jolles Jelle
  • Boxtel Martin van

    (ROA rm)

This paper uses longitudinal test data to analyze the relation between retirement andcognitive development. Controlling for individual fixed effects, we find that retirees facegreater declines in information processing speed than those who remain employed.However, remarkably, their cognitive flexibility declines less, an effect that appears to bepersistent 6 years after retirement. Both effects of retirement on cognitive developmentare comparable to those of a five to six-year age difference. They cannot be explained by(1) a relief effect after being employed in low-skilled jobs, (2) mood swings or (3) changesin lifestyle. Controlling for changes in blood pressure, which are negatively related tocognitive flexibility, we still find lower declines in cognitive flexibility for retirees. Sincethe decline in information processing speed after retirement holds particularly for thelow educated, activating these persons after retirement could lower the social costs ofan aging society.

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Paper provided by Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA) in its series ROA Research Memorandum with number 003.

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Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:unm:umaror:2012003
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  1. Coe, Norma B. & Zamarro, Gema, 2011. "Retirement effects on health in Europe," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 77-86, January.
  2. Dora L. Costa, 1998. "The Evolution of Retirement," NBER Chapters, in: The Evolution of Retirement: An American Economic History, 1880-1990, pages 6-31 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Andries de Grip & Hans Bosma & Dick Willems & Martin van Boxtel, 2008. "Job-worker mismatch and cognitive decline," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(2), pages 237-253, April.
  4. Bonsang Eric & Adam Stéphane & Perelman Sergio, 2010. "Does Retirement Affect Cognitive Functioning?," ROA Research Memorandum 001, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
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  7. Dhaval Dave & Inas Rashad & Jasmina Spasojevic, 2006. "The Effects of Retirement on Physical and Mental Health Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 12123, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Costa, Dora L, 1998. "The Evolution of Retirement: Summary of a Research Project," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 232-36, May.
  9. Norma B. Coe & Hans‐Martin von Gaudecker & Maarten Lindeboom & Jürgen Maurer, 2012. "The Effect Of Retirement On Cognitive Functioning," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(8), pages 913-927, 08.
  10. Calvo, Esteban & Haverstick, Kelly & Sass, Steven, 2007. "What Makes Retirees Happier: A Gradual or 'Cold Turkey' Retirement?," MPRA Paper 5607, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. Jacob Mincer & Haim Ofek, 1982. "Interrupted Work Careers: Depreciation and Restoration of Human Capital," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 17(1), pages 3-24.
  12. Vivian H. Hamilton & Philip Merrigan & Éric Dufresne, 1997. "Down and out: estimating the relationship between mental health and unemployment," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 6(4), pages 397-406.
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