The Mortality Effects of Retirement: Evidence from Social Security Eligibility at Age 62
57 Pages Posted: 27 Aug 2016
Date Written: August 2016
Social Security eligibility begins at age 62, and approximately one third of Americans immediately claim benefits upon reaching that age. We study the link between retirement and health by examining whether mortality changes discontinuously at this threshold. 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 overall male mortality immediately after age 62. The rise in mortality is closely connected to changes in labor force participation, implying that mortality increases by approximately 20 percent among those who stop working because Social Security is available.
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