The Causal Effect of Social Activities on Cognition: Evidence from 20 European Countries

48 Pages Posted: 5 Sep 2012 Last revised: 6 Jan 2020

See all articles by Dimitris Christelis

Dimitris Christelis

Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow; Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples Federico II; Center for Financial Studies (CFS); Netspar

Loretti Dobrescu

University of New South Wales, School of Economics

Date Written: December 27, 2019

Abstract

Using harmonized data from 20 European countries, we examine the causal effect of being socially active on old age cognition. To address the endogeneity of social participation, we employ nonparametric partial identification methods that bound the average treatment effect for the population under fairly plausible, and thus credible, assumptions. We find strong evidence that social activities have a positive impact on all cognitive dimensions we analyze. At their upper bound these effects are quite large, while at their lower bound they are more modest but still salient. Additionally, we show that ignoring the endogeneity of social activities severely underestimates the uncertainty about their causal effect on cognition.

Keywords: Cognition, Social Activities, Aging, Partial Identification, SHARE

JEL Classification: I10, J14, C14

Suggested Citation

Christelis, Dimitrios and Dobrescu, Loretti Isabella, The Causal Effect of Social Activities on Cognition: Evidence from 20 European Countries (December 27, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2141386 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2141386

Dimitrios Christelis (Contact Author)

Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow ( email )

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Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples Federico II ( email )

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Center for Financial Studies (CFS) ( email )

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Loretti Isabella Dobrescu

University of New South Wales, School of Economics ( email )

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Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia

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