Work, Retirement, and Social Networks at Older Ages

CRR WP 2016-15

35 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2016

See all articles by Eleonora Patacchini

Eleonora Patacchini

Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF) ; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Gary V. Engelhardt

Syracuse University - Center for Policy Research; Dartmouth College - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: November 2016

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of work and retirement on the size, density, and composition of older Americans’ social networks. It uses novel panel data from the first two waves of the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project. Critical components of the analysis include the development of an instrumental variable fixed-effect estimation strategy based on Social Security age-eligibility rules to isolate the causal effect of labor supply on networks.

The paper found that: • Labor supply raises (and retirement lowers) the size and density of one’s social network; • The estimated elasticity of the social network size to the labor force participation rate is 0.25; • The estimated elasticity of network size to hours worked is 0.16; • The estimated elasticity of network size to the retirement rate is 0.12; and • Most of these effects occur for women and individuals with a post-secondary education.

The policy implications of the findings are: • Any future changes in Social Security early and full benefit ages will change the social networks of older individuals; and • This may reduce the pool of individuals who provide social support to older individuals.

Suggested Citation

Patacchini, Eleonora and Engelhardt, Gary V., Work, Retirement, and Social Networks at Older Ages (November 2016). CRR WP 2016-15. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2867594 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2867594

Eleonora Patacchini (Contact Author)

Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF) ( email )

Via Due Macelli, 73
Rome, 00187
Italy

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

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

Gary V. Engelhardt

Syracuse University - Center for Policy Research ( email )

426 Eggers Hall
Syracuse, NY 13244
United States
315-443-4598 (Phone)
315-443-1081 (Fax)

Dartmouth College - Department of Economics ( email )

Hanover, NH 03755
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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