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Early retirement and inequality in Britain and Germany: How important is health?

Both health and income inequalities have been shown to be much greater in Britain than in Germany. One of the main reasons seems to be the difference in the relative position of the retired, who, in Britain, are much more concentrated in the lower income groups. Inequality analysis reveals that while the distribution of health shocks is more concentrated among those on low incomes in Britain, early retirement is more concentrated among those on high incomes. In contrast, in Germany, both health shocks and early retirement are more concentrated among those with low incomes. We use comparable longitudinal data sets from Britain and Germany to estimate hazard models of the effect of health on early retirement. The hazard models show that health is a key determinant of the retirement hazard for both men and women in Britain and Germany. The size of the health effect appears large compared to the other variables. Designing financial incentives to encourage people to work for longer may not be sufficient as a policy tool if people are leaving the labour market involuntarily due to health problems.

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Paper provided by HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York in its series Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers with number 08/27.

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Date of creation: Nov 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:yor:hectdg:08/27
Contact details of provider: Postal: HEDG/HERC, Department of Economics and Related Studies, University of York, York, YO10 5DD, United Kingdom
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Fax: (0)1904 323759
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  1. Nigel Rice & Jennifer Roberts & Andrew M. Jones, 2007. "Sick of work or too sick to work? Evidence on health shocks and early retirement from the BHPS," Working Papers 2007002, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2007.
  2. Richard Disney & Costas Meghir & Edward Whitehouse, 1994. "Retirement behaviour in Britain," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 15(1), pages 24-43, February.
  3. Cristina Hernández-Quevedo & Andrew M Jones & Nigel Rice, 2005. "Reporting bias and heterogeneity in selfassessed health. Evidence from the British Household Panel Survey," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 05/04, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  4. Andrew M Jones & Xander Koolman & Nigel Rice, 2005. "Health-related non-response in the BHPS and ECHP: using inverse probability weighted estimators in nonlinear models," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 05/05, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
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  6. Disney, Richard & Emmerson, Carl & Wakefield, Matthew, 2006. "Ill health and retirement in Britain: A panel data-based analysis," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 621-649, July.
  7. Eric French, 2000. "The effects of health, wealth, and wages on labor supply and retirement behavior," Working Paper Series WP-00-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  8. Jiménez-Martín, Sergi & Labeaga, José M. & Martínez Granado, Maite, 1999. "Health status and retirement decisions for older European couples," IRISS Working Paper Series 1999-01, IRISS at CEPS/INSTEAD.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Debra Sabatini Dwyer & Olivia S. Mitchell, 1998. "Health Problems as Determinants of Retirement: Are Self-Rated Measures Endogenous?," NBER Working Papers 6503, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Nijman, T.E. & Verbeek, M.J.C.M., 1992. "Testing for selectivity in panel data models," Other publications TiSEM 7ec34a6c-1d84-4052-971c-d, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  13. Bruce D. Meyer, 1988. "Unemployment Insurance And Unemployment Spells," NBER Working Papers 2546, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  15. 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.
  16. Tessa Peasgood & Jenny Roberts & Aki Tsuchiya, 2006. "Incapacity Benefit: A Health or Labour Market Phenomenon?," Working Papers 2006011, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics, revised Nov 2006.
  17. Kerkhofs, Marcel & Lindeboom, Maarten & Theeuwes, Jules, 1998. "Retirement, financial incentives and health," Serie Research Memoranda 0042, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
  18. Costas Meghir & Edward Whitehouse, 1993. "Labour market transitions and retirement of men in the UK," IFS Working Papers W93/12, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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  21. repec:bla:restud:v:72:y:2005:i:2:p:395-427 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. Verbeek, M.J.C.M. & Nijman, T.E., 1990. "Testing for selectivity bias in panel data models," Discussion Paper 1990-18, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  23. Richard Blundell & Costas Meghir & Sarah Smith, 2002. "Pension Incentives and the Pattern of Early Retirement," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(478), pages C153-C170, March.
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  25. Hurd, Michael D, 1990. "Research on the Elderly: Economic Status, Retirement, and Consumption and Saving," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 28(2), pages 565-637, June.
  26. Wagstaff, Adam & van Doorslaer, Eddy & Paci, Pierella, 1989. "Equity in the Finance and Delivery of Health Care: Some Tentative Cross-country Comparisons," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(1), pages 89-112, Spring.
  27. Pablo Antolín & Stefano Scarpetta, 1998. "Microeconometric Analysis of the Retirement Decision: Germany," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 204, OECD Publishing.
  28. Wagstaff, Adam & van Doorslaer, Eddy, 1992. "Equity in the finance of health care: Some international comparisons," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 361-387, December.
  29. Jenkins, Stephen P, 1995. "Easy Estimation Methods for Discrete-Time Duration Models," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 57(1), pages 129-38, February.
  30. Jaap H. Abbring & Gerard J. van den Berg, 2003. "The Nonparametric Identification of Treatment Effects in Duration Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(5), pages 1491-1517, 09.
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