How Does Health Change After Retirement and for Who? New Evidence Using Objective and Subjective Health Measures

Ludovico Carrino , King's College London
Merel Schuring, Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam
Alex Burdorf, Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam
Mauricio Avendano, King's College London / Harvard University

This paper provides new insights on the effects of retirement on various subjective and objective health outcomes. We look at both short- and long-term effects of disengagement from paid work, by accounting for the distance from retirement. We use comprehensive longitudinal data for UK women close to retirement age, using a sample of 34,722 observations for 7,684 women. Our identification comes from an instrumental variable panel estimation methods, and exploits a recent substantial reform of female pension rules which increased incentives to stay at work longer. We explore multiple mechanisms that can explain the retirement-health link, and explore heterogeneity by levels of job-strain. Preliminary findings indicate a positive causal impact of retirement on mental health (lower depression) as measured by the GHQ and MCS indices and their sub-components. Crucially, the effect is driven by women who were employed in jobs with high levels of physical or psychosocial burden.

See extended abstract

 Presented in Session 112. Future of Health: Consequences of Cohort Differences in Health Behaviors