A meta-analysis into the causal effect of retirement on health

  • Casper van Mourik Casper van Mourik

In this meta-analysis I try to answer the question what the causal effect of retirement on health is. There are many conflicting results in the literature, partly because of the endogenous relationship between retirement and health. I’ve collected 576 results from 61 studies around the world into the causal effect of retirement on health. 15% of the results were negative, 50% were not significant and 36% were positive. These results do not support the ‘use it or lose it’ hypothesis, indicating the health of retirees is expected to worsen after retirement because of inactivity. Although the results of retirement on health are more often positive than negative, this research does not have to be a cause of concern for policy makers who want to raise the retirement age. The negative effects of postponed retirement on health care expenditure are likely smaller than the benefits for the treasury.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.


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