Occupational Retirement and Social Security Reform: the Roles of Physical and Cognitive Health
Jiayi Wen
#002390 20181204 () Views:204
Under skill-biased technical change, jobs are becoming less physically demanding whereas require increasing cognitive abilities. However, existing research does not pay sufficient attention on the role of cognitive health in older people's labor supply, nor to the occupation-dependent labor supply effects of physical and cognitive health. This paper reveals several facts about the heterogeneity of physical and cognitive health, as well as their relationship with older people's labor supply across occupations. Based on these facts, this paper proposes and estimates a dynamic programming structural model of individual retirement and saving decisions. The model allows labor supply effects of physical and cognitive health to differ across occupations via four channels respectively: disutility of working, wage, medical expenditure and life expectancy . I estimate the model with the U.S. Health and Retirement Study data by Indirect Inference. The counterfactual experiments suggest cognitive health has little retirement effect for manual workers. However, for clerical workers, the effect is almost as large as the one of physical health. The counterfactual experiment also reveals the mechanisms through which physical and cognitive health affects labor supply respectively. Finally, this paper quantifies the distributional effects of proposed Social Security changes on retirement, benefits and welfare across occupations.
Keywords: Cognition, Retirement, Social Security

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