The Mortality Effects of Retirement: Evidence from Social Security Eligibility at Age 62
Social Security eligibility begins at age 62, and approximately one third of Americans immediately claim at that age. We examine whether age 62 is associated with a discontinuous change in aggregate mortality, a key measure of population health. Using mortality data that covers the entire U.S. population and includes exact dates of birth and death, we document a robust two percent increase in male mortality immediately after age 62. The change in female mortality is smaller and imprecisely estimated. Additional analysis suggests that the increase in male mortality is connected to retirement from the labor force and associated lifestyle changes.
This research was supported by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and a Steven H. Sandell Grant from Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. We are grateful to David Pattison for providing tabulations of the Social Security data and staff at the National Center for Health Statistics for access to the Multiple Cause of Death data. For helpful comments, we thank Bill Evans, Andrew Goodman-Bacon, Tal Gross and Erzo Luttmer, and seminar participants at the Australian Health Economics Society Conference, CIRANO Workshop on Savings and Retirement, George Washington University, NBER Summer Institute, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, University of Calgary, University of Illinois Urbana- Champaign, University of Rochester and the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. All errors are our own. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
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Maria D. Fitzpatrick & Timothy J. Moore, 2017. "The mortality effects of retirement: Evidence from social security eligibility at age 62," Journal of Public Economics, . citation courtesy of