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The Mortality Effects of Retirement: Evidence from Social Security Eligibility at Age 62

Maria D. Fitzpatrick, Timothy J. Moore

NBER Working Paper No. 24127
Issued in December 2017
NBER Program(s):The Program on Aging, The Labor Studies Program, The Public Economics Program

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.

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A non-technical summary of this paper is available in the 2018 number 1 issue of the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health. You can sign up to receive the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health by email.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w24127

Published: Maria D. Fitzpatrick & Timothy J. Moore, 2017. "The mortality effects of retirement: Evidence from social security eligibility at age 62," Journal of Public Economics, .

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