Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Papers in Economics,
University of Bergen, Department of Economics

No 10/18: Health Effects of Retirement: Evidence from Survey and Register Data

Maja Weemes Grøtting () and Otto Lillebø
Additional contact information
Maja Weemes Grøtting: Norwegian Social Research, Oslo Metropolitan University, Postal: Stensberggata 26, , 0170 Oslo, Norway
Otto Lillebø: University of Bergen, Department of Economics, Postal: Institutt for økonomi, Universitetet i Bergen, Postboks 7802, 5020 Bergen, Norway

Abstract: Using a local randomized experiment that arises from the statutory retirement age in Norway, we study the effect of retirement on health across gender and socioeconomic status. We apply data from administrative registers covering the entire population and from survey data of a random sample to investigate the effects of retirement on acute hospital admissions, mortality, and a composite physical health score. Our results show that retirement has a positive effect on physical health, especially for individuals with low socioeconomic status. We find no retirement effects on acute hospitalizations or mortality in general. However, our results suggest that retirement leads to reduced likelihood of hospitalizations for individuals with low socioeconomic status. Finally, we show that the positive health effects are driven by reduced pain and reduced health limitations in conducting daily activities. Our findings highlight heterogeneity in the health effects across socioeconomic status and across subjective and objective measures of health.

Keywords: Retirement; Health; Socioeconomic Status; Gender; Regression Discontinuity Design

JEL-codes: H75; I14; I18; J26

45 pages, First version: April 7, 2017. Revised: November 19, 2018.

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