The effect of retirement on self-reported health: a gender comparison in Italy

Lucia Coppola, Istituto Nazionale di Statistica (ISTAT)
Daniele Spizzichino, Istituto Nazionale di Statistica (ISTAT)

The aging process of population poses the increasing burden for pension and health care systems a main concern for policy- makers. Furthermore, policies need to take into account the relationship between timing to retirement and health conditions to avoid that expected improvements in one sector may cause drawbacks in the other one. But so far, findings on this topic are still controversial. We study the effect of retirement on subsequent self-reported health in Italy, where the aging process is occurring at a faster pace than in other EU countries. We use EU-SILC longitudinal data, and apply difference-in-difference estimator combined with propensity score matching, to control for endogeneity between retirement and health, and estimate the net effect of retirement on health. We find that retirement is associated with a significantly higher risk of self-reporting a subsequent worse health condition for men but not for women. Possibly the life style adjustment required by retirement is more traumatic for men than for women, in country still characterised by a traditional division of economic and care roles. Men, in fact, need to rearrange their daily life and redefine their social role once they are no longer involved in the labour market, while women may more easily allocate the time previously devoted to job to other family related activities they were responsible for.

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Presented in Poster Session 2