Aging Unequally in the United States: A Life-Course Study of the Health Effects of Employment Trajectories

Monday, 11 July 2016: 10:57
Location: Hörsaal BIG 1 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Ignacio MADERO-CABIB, University of Lausanne, Switzerland, Life Course and Inequality Research Centre, Switzerland
Esteban CALVO, Public Policy Institute, Universidad Diego Portales, Public Policy Institute, Santiago, Chile, Columbia University, USA
While pension reforms have addressed financial issues associated with aging populations by extending paid work activity into late life, less attention has been devoted to the non-monetary effects of active aging policies. Using a life course approach, that is, looking at trajectories and transitions in context, this study hypothesizes that detrimental health transitions in old age arise from precarious employment trajectories. To test this hypothesis, we use 1992 to 2014 data from the Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative, biennial panel survey of approximately 12,000 older Americans and their spouses. In order to construct employment trajectories we considered labor force statuses between age 60 and 70. Health transitions are measured with objective and subjective indicators, including mortality and changes in self-rated health, depressive symptomatology, limitations to perform activities of daily living, and chronic diseases. We used sequence analysis to make up types of employment trajectories and employed discrete time models with Heckman corrections to estimate their effect on older adults’ health. Preliminary results suggest that continuous full-time employment during the adulthood improve health statuses in old-age. By contrast, part-time jobs and interrupted careers have detrimental health effects.