Ruhr Economic Papers

Ruhr Economic Papers #800

The Retirement Mortality Puzzle: Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design

by Matthias Giesecke

RWI, 08/2019, 38 S./p., 8 Euro DOI: 10.4419/86788928

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Abstract

I estimate the effect of retirement on mortality, exploiting two discontinuities at age-based eligibility thresholds for pension claiming in Germany. The analysis is based on unique social security records that document the age at death for the universe of participants in the German public pension system. Using variation from bunching of retirements at age-based eligibility thresholds, I demonstrate that retirement can have both mortality-decreasing and mortality-increasing effects, depending on the group of retirees who comply to eligibility at each threshold. To reconcile heterogeneous effects with likewise mixed results from the literature I provide evidence that the retirement-mortality nexus is driven by the activity change at retirement.

JEL-Classification: H55, I12, J14, J26

Keywords: Retirement; mortality; age-based eligibility thresholds; regression discontinuity design

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