Inequality in the Golden Years: Wealth Gradients in Disability-Free and Work-Free Longevity in the United States

53 Pages Posted: 2 Dec 2022 Last revised: 19 Nov 2023

See all articles by Hessam Bavafa

Hessam Bavafa

University of Wisconsin - Madison - School of Business

Anita Mukherjee

University of Wisconsin - Madison

Tyler Q. Welch

University of Wisconsin - Madison

Date Written: September 1, 2023

Abstract

We study the relationship of wealth with the "quality" of longevity as measured by years after age 65 containing disability or work. By comparing cohorts turning 65 in 1996 and 2006, we observe strong within-cohort gradients of wealth in which the more wealthy live more years disability-free and work more years, yet also experience more work-free years. We document that these gradients steepened over the decade we study. We explore robustness using education as an alternative indicator for socioeconomic status, and rule out certain explanations for these trends by analyzing the effect of health shocks on wealth accumulation.

Keywords: wealth inequality; disability-free life expectancy; retirement; work capacity

JEL Classification: D63, I14, J14, J26

Suggested Citation

Bavafa, Hessam and Mukherjee, Anita and Welch, Tyler, Inequality in the Golden Years: Wealth Gradients in Disability-Free and Work-Free Longevity in the United States (September 1, 2023). Journal of Health Economics, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4291715 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4291715

Hessam Bavafa

University of Wisconsin - Madison - School of Business ( email )

975 University Ave
4284C Grainger Hall
Madison, WI 53706
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://bus.wisc.edu/faculty/hessam-bavafa

Anita Mukherjee (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin - Madison

Tyler Welch

University of Wisconsin - Madison ( email )

HOME PAGE: http://www.tqwelch.com/home

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