It’s Important To Work

Your life may depend on it:

We estimate the causal effect of permanent and premature exits from the labor force on mortality. To overcome the problem of negative health selection into early retirement, we exploit a policy change in unemployment insurance rules in Austria that allowed workers in eligible regions to exit the labor force 3 years earlier compared to workers in non-eligible regions. Using administrative data with precise information on mortality and retirement, we find that the policy change induced eligible workers to exit the labor force significantly earlier. Instrumental variable estimation results show that for men retiring one year earlier causes a 6.8% increase in the risk of premature death and 0.2 years reduction in the age at death, but has no significant effect for women.

Implications:

  1. A work component to UBI might be smart.
  2. Does this matter for younger people? If so, it endorses child care so that people like me have regular jobs.
  3. The protestant work ethic is redeemed!
  4. It’s actually impossible to tease out all of the confounding factors for something like this.
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5 thoughts on “It’s Important To Work

  1. Two thoughts…

    How do you control for the possibility that the men who choose early retirement are the ones that already have health issues? Eg, my father retired early from his white-collar job because spinal issues related to osteoporosis precluded work. It also forced him to be inactive in retirement, which created — or at least contributed to — all sorts of other health problems.

    The question I always ask my friends who start talking about retirement is “How are you going to fill up all those minutes?” I started planning my answer to that question decades ago.

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  2. Instrumental variable estimation results show that for men retiring one year earlier causes a 6.8% increase in the risk of premature death and 0.2 years reduction in the age at death, but has no significant effect for women.

    Hmmm….

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  3. I wonder if – at least in some cases – it has to do with the notion that people who dislike their jobs enough to retire early are under such a high level of stress that it’s already taken a very high toll on their health.

    My father in law retired early and then died young. But this was after 2 decades of super stressful work that he hated, split shifts, not treated with respect or dignity, etc. He’d be so exhausted from work he would not have had time or energy to exercise even if he wanted to (which I doubt he would have, but still).

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