Does retirement affect cognitive functioning?

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.

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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