NORMA B. COE, University of Washington - Department of Health Services, Boston College - Center for Retirement Research
GEMA ZAMARRO, University of Arkansas - Department of Education Reform, Center for Economic and Social Research (CESR)
Recent work has found that retirement may lead to improvements in health, although the literature has not yet reached a consensus. This could be due to actual differences in the relationship of interest between countries or due to methodological differences between studies. The first goal of this paper is to estimate the causal impact of retirement on self-reported health using consistent estimation techniques on three harmonized longitudinal data sets, representative of the United States, England, and continental Europe. Using panel data and instrumental variable methods exploiting variation in statutory retirement ages, this paper then estimates how retirement causally affects health and health-related behaviors. We find, in all settings, retirement leads to better self-reported health, but that magnitude of the effect varies considerably. We also find that retirement increases the amount of exercise for those retiring from nonphysical jobs in all settings. The effect of retirement on addictive behaviors (drinking and smoking) was more mixed across settings. These findings suggest that public health interventions targeted to get near retirees to exercise more could allow countries to reap the benefits of a longer-working life while minimizing the associated health decline.
HANS FEHR, University of Würzburg - Institute of Economics and Social Sciences
MANUEL KALLWEIT, German Council of Economic Experts
FABIAN KINDERMANN, University of Bonn - Faculty of Law & Economics, Netspar
The present paper quantifies the importance of family insurance for the analysis of social security. We therefore augment the standard overlapping generations model with idiosyncratic labor productivity and longevity risk in that we account for gender and marital status. We simulate the abolition of pay-as-you-go pension payments, calculate the resulting intergenerational welfare changes and isolates aggregate efficiency effects for singles and families by means of compensating transfers. In accordance with previous studies that take into account transitional dynamics, we find that abolishing social security creates significant efficiency losses. Most importantly, however, we show that singles are substantially worse off from a shut-down of old-age payments compared to married couples. A decomposition of the efficiency loss reveals that this difference can be almost exclusively attributed to the insurance role of the family with respect to longevity risk. Since a married individual inherits her spouse’s wealth after his death and the likelihood that both partners reach a very old age is relatively small, marriage serves as an insurance device against longevity risk for the surviving partner.
HONG WANG, Monash Business School
BONSOO KOO, Monash Business School
COLIN O'HARE, Monash University - Department of Econometrics & Business Statistics
With increasing longevity and decreasing fertility rates, governments and policy makers are increasingly engaged in the question of long term retirement planning. In many cases this has included emphasising the need for individuals to take more responsibility for their own retirement planning through tax incentives, compulsion and changes to the age at which state retirement benefits become available. In the case of Australia, as is considered here, long term retirement planning has been focused around the development of a compulsory defined contribution (DC) superannuation system. Here we investigate the interaction between population aging and the sustainability of the superannuation system by modelling a general superannuation scheme to compare the adequacy of retirement funds under a number of alternative scenarios. The model incorporates stochastic longevity forecasts and provides insight into the sufficiency of compulsory retirement saving both now and future. We find that the current pension scheme is more robust to longevity improvements for mid-class individuals however significant gaps arise for low-income individuals as longevity improves. Without addressing these issues, government expenditure is expected to increase substantially.