Harmonizing the Yin and Yang: Gender Disparities in Subjective Well-Being after Retirement in China

45 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2024

See all articles by Erkmen Giray Aslim

Erkmen Giray Aslim

Grand Valley State University - Seidman School of Business

Shin-Yi Chou

Lehigh University

Han Yu

University of Memphis

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Abstract

China’s distinctive demographic landscape, early retirement policies, and deeply ingrained gender norms provide a unique backdrop for investigating gender disparities in retirement and subjective well-being. Drawing upon data from the China Family Panel Studies and leveraging the variation around the pensionable age cutoff, we find substantial increases in retirement rates, surging by around 18 percentage points for males and 12 percentage points for females in proximity to this age threshold. Notably, retirement manifests significant gender heterogeneity in its influence on life satisfaction, leading to an enhancement among males while not yielding statistically significant improvements among females. Furthermore, this study probes multiple dimensions of subjective well-being and objective health behaviors, laying bare gender disparities in health, behaviors, perceptions of income and social status, and confidence about the future. Males showcase improvements in healthy behaviors, report enhanced self-perceived health, perceive higher relative income and exude greater confidence about their future. In stark contrast, females show no statistically significant changes along these dimensions. In fact, they tend to engage in health-compromising behaviors, such as increased smoking, and exhibit higher rates of obesity. These findings underscore the imperative of recognizing gender disparities in the consequences of retirement on subjective well-being. They highlight the need for targeted policies aimed at enhancing social and economic opportunities for women, ultimately striving for greater gender equality in the post-retirement phase.

Keywords: China, retirement, life satisfaction, gender differences

Suggested Citation

Aslim, Erkmen Giray and Chou, Shin-Yi and Yu, Han, Harmonizing the Yin and Yang: Gender Disparities in Subjective Well-Being after Retirement in China. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4739149 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4739149

Erkmen Giray Aslim

Grand Valley State University - Seidman School of Business ( email )

Grand Rapids, MI 49504
United States

Shin-Yi Chou

Lehigh University ( email )

621 Taylor Street
Bethlehem, PA 18015
United States

Han Yu (Contact Author)

University of Memphis ( email )

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