Does Retirement Influence Subjective Well-Being? A Cross-Country Comparison

Published: 2013
Project ID: UM13-14


How does retirement influence subjective well-being? Some studies suggest retirement does not affect subjective well-being or may improve it. Others suggest that it adversely affects well-being. We will study the effect of retirement on subjective well-being by (1) using longitudinal data to tease out the retirement effect from age and cohort differences; (2) using instrumental variables to address potential reverse causation of subjective well-being on retirement decisions; and (3) conducting cross-country analyses, exploiting differences in eligibility ages for retirement benefits across countries and within countries. We will use panel data from the US Health and Retirement Study, and the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe. This will allow us to use a quasi-experimental approach where variations in public pension eligibility due to country and cohort specific retirement ages will help identify retirement effects.