Does Retirement Kill You? Evidence from Early Retirement Windows

31 Pages Posted: 11 Nov 2008

See all articles by Norma Coe

Norma Coe

University of Pennsylvania - Perelman School of Medicine

Maarten Lindeboom

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam; Tinbergen Institute Amsterdam; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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The magnitude of the effect that health has on the retirement decision has long been studied. We examine the reverse relationship, whether or not retirement has a direct impact on later-life health. In order to identify the causal relationship, we use unexpected early retirement window offers to instrument for retirement behavior. They are legally required to be unrelated to the baseline health of the individual, and are significant predictors of retirement. We find that there is no negative effect of early retirement on men's health, and if anything, a temporary increase in self-reported health and improvements in health of highly educated workers. While this is consistent with previous literature using Social Security ages as instruments, we also find some evidence that anticipation of retirement might also be important, and might bias the previous estimates towards zero.

Keywords: health, retirement, instrument, causal effect

JEL Classification: I12, J08, J14

Suggested Citation

Coe, Norma and Lindeboom, Maarten, Does Retirement Kill You? Evidence from Early Retirement Windows. IZA Discussion Paper No. 3817. Available at SSRN: or

Norma Coe (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Perelman School of Medicine ( email )

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Maarten Lindeboom

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam ( email )

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Tinbergen Institute Amsterdam

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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