The Cognitive Impact of Social Activities in Older Age

46 Pages Posted: 30 Jul 2015 Last revised: 8 Mar 2017

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 28, 2014

Abstract

This study examines the causal effect of being socially active on old age cognition, using harmonized data from 18 European countries. We handle the endogeneity of social participation via nonparametric partial identification methods that bound the average treatment effect while using fairly weak 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. Finally, our results hold true regardless of respondents’ region of residence, sex, age, education, or income.

Keywords: Cognition, social activities, ageing, partial identification, bounds, SHARE

JEL Classification: I10, J14, C14

Suggested Citation

Christelis, Dimitrios and Dobrescu, Loretti Isabella, The Cognitive Impact of Social Activities in Older Age (December 28, 2014). Netspar Discussion Paper No. 12/2014-090, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2637809 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2637809

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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Australia

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