August 2010

IZA DP No. 5160: Fatal Attraction? Access to Early Retirement and Mortality

We estimate the causal effect of early retirement on mortality for blue-collar workers. To overcome the problem of endogenous selection, we exploit an exogenous change in unemployment insurance rules in Austria that allowed workers in eligible regions to withdraw from the workforce up to 3.5 years earlier than those in non-eligible regions. For males, instrumental-variable estimates show a significant 2.4 percentage points (about 13%) increase in the probability of dying before age 67. We do not find any adverse effect of early retirement on mortality for females. Death causes indicate a significantly higher incidence of cardiovascular disorders among eligible workers, suggesting that changes in health-related behavior explain increased mortality among male early retirees.