Will the Elderly Benefit From Public Pension Programs in a Developing Country? Understanding the Effects of China’s Public Pension Program Expansion on the Elderly’s Health Outcomes

Qian Zhang

China is aging rapidly. Initiated by the government starting 2009, the rural public pension program expansion (New Rural Pension Scheme, NRPS) is dedicated to providing income security for the elderly through a universal coverage pension program. Rural residents who are aged 60 and over and not covered by employment pension programs are eligible to receive a pension from NRPS. The obesity epidemic has been an international health issue, and China is no exception. The study will investigate the effects of NRPS on health outcomes i.e. body mass index (BMI), drinking and smoking behaviors. The study analyzes a nationally representative secondary dataset CHARLS (China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Survey). The study employs fixed effects as well as instrumental variable to control for endogenous bias and yields LATE (Local Average Treatment Effect) estimates. This study will inform policy makers of how the elderly allocate extra pension income on health behaviors.

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 Presented in Session 94. Cross-National Studies of Retirement Policies and Processes