Health effects of retirement
Start date: 01 Sep 2007,
End date: 31 Aug 2009
What are the health effects of the act of retiring? While this is an important question with pertinent policy consequences, little is currently known about the answer. The notion that retirement harms health is an old, and persistent hypothesis. (See Minkler 1981 for a review.)Others believe that retirement is a health-preserving life change (Eckart et al, 1983b). Despite the long-standing debate, there is little conclusive evidence thus far. The question is much more difficult to answer than would appear at first glance. The inherent problem is that retirement is often a choice, and may or may not be based on health characteristics before retirement.An additional complication to the research is that the health effects of retirement may offset each other. In order to properly address this question, one needs to find an instrument that is related to retirement behaviour, but uncorrelated with health. Further, since the discussion about raising the retirement age is an international one, to adequately address the issue, work should be completed on an international context.Two research projects, in two different country settings, will help answer this question.- The first project is in an American context, where the offering of early retirement windows in the US will be used as an instrument for retirement.- The second project will use changes in the Disability Insurance law, and changes in the retirement ages of the occupational defined benefit retirement plans as instruments for retirement behaviour in the Netherlands.By carefully selecting instruments that are not correlated with health outcomes and do determine retirement behaviour, and using mean IV and median IV regression techniques, any causal relationship between retirement behaviour and health outcomes will be measured.
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