The Effects of Economic Conditions around Retirement on Later-Life Functional Health and the Mitigating Role of Social Protection Programmes

Philipp Hessel, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

This paper examines whether unemployment rates at ages 55-64 are associated with physical functioning at later-life among cohorts in 11 European countries. The paper also assesses whether specific social protection programmes mitigate potential health-effects of macroeconomic conditions. Data came from 6,036 participants in the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) aged 64-74 at baseline. Data on functional limitations, as well as employment, marriage and fertility retrospective histories were linked to national unemployment rates as well as quantitative information on different social protection programmes for ages 55-64. Higher unemployment rates at ages 55-57 and 63-64 were associated with more functional limitations at ages 50-74 among men and women. Preliminary results suggest that social protection programmes may mitigate negative health-effects of higher unemployment rates. Additional analyses will systematically assess the role of social protection programmes and potential mechanism linking economic conditions and health at later-life.

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Presented in Poster Session 8: Adult Health and Mortality