IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Occupational Retirement and Social Security Reform: the Roles of Physical and Cognitive Health


  • Jiayi Wen

    () (Xiamen University)


Under skill-biased technical change, jobs are becoming less physically demanding whereas require increasing cognitive abilities. However, existing research does not pay sufficient attention on the role of cognitive health in older people's labor supply, nor to the occupation-dependent labor supply effects of physical and cognitive health. This paper reveals several facts about the heterogeneity of physical and cognitive health, as well as their relationship with older people's labor supply across occupations. Based on these facts, this paper proposes and estimates a dynamic programming structural model of individual retirement and saving decisions. The model allows labor supply effects of physical and cognitive health to differ across occupations via four channels respectively: disutility of working, wage, medical expenditure and life expectancy . I estimate the model with the U.S. Health and Retirement Study data by Indirect Inference. The counterfactual experiments suggest cognitive health has little retirement effect for manual workers. However, for clerical workers, the effect is almost as large as the one of physical health. The counterfactual experiment also reveals the mechanisms through which physical and cognitive health affects labor supply respectively. Finally, this paper quantifies the distributional effects of proposed Social Security changes on retirement, benefits and welfare across occupations.

Suggested Citation

  • Jiayi Wen, 2018. "Occupational Retirement and Social Security Reform: the Roles of Physical and Cognitive Health," Working Papers 2018-12-04, Wang Yanan Institute for Studies in Economics (WISE), Xiamen University.
  • Handle: RePEc:wyi:wpaper:002390

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Capatina, Elena, 2015. "Life-cycle effects of health risk," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 67-88.
    2. Haan, Peter & Prowse, Victoria, 2014. "Longevity, life-cycle behavior and pension reform," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 178(P3), pages 582-601.
    3. Mazzonna, Fabrizio & Peracchi, Franco, 2012. "Ageing, cognitive abilities and retirement," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 691-710.
    4. Kathleen McGarry, 2004. "Health and Retirement: Do Changes in Health Affect Retirement Expectations?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(3).
    5. 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.
    6. Bingley, Paul & Martinello, Alessandro, 2013. "Mental retirement and schooling," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 292-298.
    7. Bound, John & Schoenbaum, Michael & Stinebrickner, Todd R. & Waidmann, Timothy, 1999. "The dynamic effects of health on the labor force transitions of older workers," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 179-202, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Cognition; Retirement; Social Security;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wyi:wpaper:002390. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (WISE Technical Team). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.