A Gender Approach to the Association between Retirement Timing and Functional Health in an Emerging Economy

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 15:45
Oral Presentation
Esteban CALVO, Universidad Diego Portales, Chile, Columbia University, USA
Ana Sofia LEON, Universidad Diego Portales, Chile
Ursula M. STAUDINGER, Columbia Aging Center, USA
This study uses a gender approach to examine differences in the health effects of retirement timing. Extant literature frequently overlooks gender differences, is narrowly focused on early retirement, and uses data from high-income economies. However, gender differences and late retirements are more salient in emerging economies. The present study contributes to this literature by exploring gender differences in the association between retirement timing and functional health in Chile. Chile shares the context of traditional gender norms, high prevalence of late retirements and poor job quality with many other emerging economies. In addition, Chile is an interesting case study because its retirement age varies greatly for both men and women and its privatized pension system has been replicated worldwide. Using fixed-effects regressions on Chilean Social Protection Survey panel data for 2,645 individuals age 50 and over, in the labor force at baseline, and who did not retire because of health reasons, we assess gender differences in the relationship between retirement timing and the number of limitations to perform activities of daily living (ADLs). We find that retiring too early is detrimental to the functional health of both men and women, but there are important gender differences in the benefits of continued employment. These results are robust to different model specifications and suggest that, in the context of emerging economies, forcing longer working lives can be detrimental to the functional health of men, while promoting a voluntary extension of careers can benefit women without damaging men. We discuss potential socioeconomic and psychosocial mechanisms underlying the gender-specific nature of the relationship between retirement timing and functional health in emerging economies.