Healthy Retirements Begin at School: Education Predicts Health Outcomes of Early Transitions.

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 08:45
Oral Presentation
Kasim ALLEL, Universidad Diego Portales, Chile
Ursula STAUDINGER, Robert N. Butler, Columbia Aging Center, USA
Esteban CALVO, Robert N. Butler Professor of Sociomedical Sciences Columbia Aging Center, USA, Universidad Diego Portales, Chile
Ana Sofia LEON, Universidad Diego Portales, Chile
The literature on whether education is a significant moderator of the health effects of retirement is equivocal. This article assumes that part of the conflicting evidence may be linked with differences in the variability of educational status between study samples. The present study used Mexico as a sample case because it has a sizable number of older adults who have no or very little formal education, which is no longer the case in most developed countries. Thus, it presents a more balanced test of the impact of formal education on health outcomes of retirement. Drawing on panel data for 4,428 individuals over age 50 from the Mexican Health and Aging Study (MHAS) and combining propensity score matching models with fixed and random effects regressions, this article explores differences in the health effects of retirement timing between older adults with varying years of education. Subjective health is measured using a self-reported assessment of respondents’ overall health and physical health is measured as a reverse count of doctor diagnosed chronic diseases. The results indicate that early retirement is associated with worse health outcomes, but years of education fully compensate for its detrimental effect on subjective health and attenuate the detrimental effects on physical health. In conclusion, formal education during childhood and youth provides a long-term protective effect on health and improves the health consequences of early retirement. Policies and programs promoting healthy and active ageing would benefit from considering the influence of formal education in shaping older adults’ health during the transition into retirement.