NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Early Retirement and Public Disability Insurance Applications: Exploring the Impact of Depression

Rena M. Conti, Ernst R. Berndt, Richard G. Frank

NBER Working Paper No. 12237
Issued in May 2006
NBER Program(s):   AG   HC   PE

This paper investigates the impact of depression on labor force participation among older workers. Empirically, we use two analytic strategies and rely on a sample drawn from the Health and Retirement Survey. Depression directly and indirectly increases individuals’ probability of retiring early and applying for DI benefits, after accounting for other predictors of labor force exit. Accounting for the independent effects of depression, disability associated with physical illness may be smaller than the official statistics suggest. There may be great economic gains in increasing depression treatment awareness and access to treatment for individuals, employers and society.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w12237

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