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J Health Econ. 2012 May;31(3):490-501. doi: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2012.03.005. Epub 2012 Mar 29.

Does retirement affect cognitive functioning?

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Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA), Maastricht University, P.O. Box 616, NL-6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands.


This paper analyses the effect of retirement on cognitive functioning using a longitudinal survey among older Americans, which allows controlling for individual heterogeneity and endogeneity of the retirement decision by using the eligibility age for social security as an instrument. The results highlight a significant negative effect of retirement on cognitive functioning. Our findings suggest that reforms aimed at promoting labour force participation at an older age may not only ensure the sustainability of social security systems but may also create positive health externalities for older individuals.

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