Social Security and Elderly Mortality

Cristian Meghea, American College of Radiology

The research literature generally finds a positive relationship between income and health over many populations and many time periods. Some studies found the relationship to weaken at older age, but it is difficult to ascertain causality since income and health are jointly determined. This study uses a new natural experiment to address the causal effect of income on the mortality of retired elderly. I use an exogenous shift in benefit generosity for divorced retired women to estimate the impact of income on their mortality. I employ instrumental variable and treatment effect techniques and find no evidence that an increase in income at retirement age has an effect on the mortality of the elderly.

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Presented in Poster Session 1: Aging, Life Course, Health, Mortality, and Health Care