Self-Reported vs. Objective Measures of Health in Retirement Models

John Bound

NBER Working Paper No. 2997
Issued in June 1989
NBER Program(s):   AG

Labor supply estimates are sensitive to the measures of health used. When self reported measures are used health seems to playa larger role and economic factors a smaller one than when more objective measures are used" While most authors have interpreted these results as an indication of the biases inherent in using self-reported measures, there are reasons to be suspicious of estimates based on more objective measures as well. In this paper I construct a statistical model incorporating both self-reported and objective measures of health. I use the model to show the potential biases involved in using either measure of health or in using one to instrument the other- When outside information on the validity of self-reported measures of health are incorporated into the model estimates suggest that the self-reported measures of health perform better than many have believed.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w2997

Published: Journal of Human Resourcesm 26: 106-38 Winter 1991

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