Pappa Ante Portas: The Retired Husband Syndrome in Japan

34 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2014

See all articles by Marco Bertoni

Marco Bertoni

University of Padua

Giorgio Brunello

University of Padua - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Abstract

The "Retired Husband Syndrome", that affects the mental health of wives of retired men around the world, has been anecdotally documented but never formally investigated. We use Japanese micro data and the exogenous variation generated by the 2006 revision of the Japanese Elderly Employment Stabilization Law, which mandated employers to guarantee continuous employment between mandatory retirement age and full pension eligibility age, to estimate the causal effect of the husband's retirement on the wife's mental health. We find that adding one year to the time spent in retirement by Japanese husbands increases the probability that their wives develop the syndrome by 5.8 to 13.7 percentage points, depending on the empirical specification. We discuss mechanisms at work and argue that – ceteris paribus – increasing female labour force participation might exacerbate rather than attenuate the phenomenon.

Keywords: retirement, pension reforms, couples, stress, depression, Japan

JEL Classification: D1, I1, I3, J14, J26

Suggested Citation

Bertoni, Marco and Brunello, Giorgio, Pappa Ante Portas: The Retired Husband Syndrome in Japan. IZA Discussion Paper No. 8350. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2475318

Marco Bertoni (Contact Author)

University of Padua ( email )

Giorgio Brunello

University of Padua - Department of Economics ( email )

via Del Santo 33
35121 Padova
Italy
+39 049 827 4223 (Phone)
+39 049 827 4221 (Fax)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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