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Health Problems as Determinants of Retirement: Are Self-Rated Measures Endogenous?

  • Debra S. Dwyer
  • Olivia S. Mitchell

We explore alternative measures of unobserved health status in order to identify effects of mental and physical capacity for work on older men's retirement. Traditional self-ratings of poor health are tested against more objectively measured instruments. Using the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), we find that health problems influence retirement plans more strongly than do economic variables. Specifically, men in poor overall health expected to retire one to two years earlier, an effect that persists after correcting for potential endogeneity of self-rated health problems. The effects of detailed health problems are also examined in depth.

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Paper provided by Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania in its series Pension Research Council Working Papers with number 98-7.

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Publication status: Published in Journal of Health Economics(18) 1999: 173-193.
Handle: RePEc:wop:pennpr:98-7
Contact details of provider: Postal: The Wharton School, 3641 Locust Walk, 304 CPC, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6218
Phone: 215-898-7620
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  1. John Rust, 1987. "A Dynamic Programming Model of Retirement Behavior," NBER Working Papers 2470, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Haveman, Robert & Wolfe, Barbara & Kreider, Brent & Stone, Mark, 1994. "Market Work, Wages, and Men's Health," Staff General Research Papers 10233, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  3. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
  4. Wu, De-Min, 1973. "Alternative Tests of Independence Between Stochastic Regressors and Disturbances," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(4), pages 733-50, July.
  5. B. Douglas Bernheim, 1989. "The Timing of Retirement: A Comparison of Expectations and Realizations," NBER Chapters, in: The Economics of Aging, pages 335-358 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Hausman, Jerry A, 1978. "Specification Tests in Econometrics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1251-71, November.
  7. Chirikos, Thomas N. & Nestel, Gilbert, 1984. "Economic determinants and consequences of self-reported work disability," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 117-136, August.
  8. Richard V. Burkhauser, 1979. "The Pension Acceptance Decision of Older Workers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(1), pages 63-75.
  9. Steven Stern, 1989. "Measuring the Effect of Disability on Labor Force Participation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(3), pages 361-395.
  10. Robert Haveman & Barbara Wolfe & Fung Mey Huang, 1989. "Disability Status as an Unobservable: Estimates From a Structural Model," NBER Working Papers 2831, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Grossman, Michael, 1972. "On the Concept of Health Capital and the Demand for Health," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(2), pages 223-55, March-Apr.
  12. Sickles, Robin C & Taubman, Paul, 1986. "An Analysis of the Health and Retirement Status of the Elderly," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(6), pages 1339-56, November.
  13. Mitchell, Olivia S & Fields, Gary S, 1984. "The Economics of Retirement Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(1), pages 84-105, January.
  14. Kathryn H. Anderson & Richard V. Burkhauser, 1985. "The Retirement-Health Nexus: A New Measure of an Old Puzzle," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 20(3), pages 315-330.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
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