Is Retirement Bad for Health? a Matching Approach

Gustavo De Santis, University of Florence
Elena Pirani, University of Florence
Marina Ballerini, University of Florence
Alessandra Mattei, University of Florence

The health effects of the transition from work to retirement are far from clear. The specialized literature reports both positive and negative consequences on objective and subjective health measures, cognitive functions, and mortality. However, most of the early studies focus on associations rather than causal relationships.

The aim of this paper is to assess the causal impact of the transition from work to retirement on individual health in various European countries in recent years. We focus on three measures of health: self-rated health, mental health, and depression.

Our data come from SHARE, the longitudinal Survey on Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe, in the years between 2004 and 2016. We estimate causal effects of retirement on health using a propensity score matching approach (nearest neighbor method) under the assumption of selection of observable, which amounts to assuming that there is no unmeasured confounder of the treatment-outcomes relationship.

Overall, our results suggest that transition from work to retirement has no effects – either positive or negative – on individual health. Further analyses are needed in order to understand if this result still hold when considering different subgroups.


Presented in Session 1176: Health, Wellbeing, and Morbidity