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The Effect of Spousal Retirement on Health Outcomes

Chen, Yixuan (2016)
Honors Thesis (38 pages)
Committee Chair / Thesis Adviser: McCarthy, Ian M
Committee Members: Francis-Tan, Andrew ; Norfleet, Mark A
Research Fields: Economics; Aging; Public health
Keywords: Retirement; Health; Spouse
Program: College Honors Program, Economics
Permanent url:


Using data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), this article investigates the effect of spousal retirement on various health outcomes. It is found that retirement of spouses significantly improves respondents' physical health. In particular, it alleviates the respondents' difficulties with mobility and daily activities. Estimates also indicate spouses' retirement lead to a decrease in respondents' depressive symptom, though the effect is not statistically significant. Individuals tend to have a worse self-accessed health following their spouses' complete retirement, but the effect observed is most likely due to the confounding effect of their own retirement. In addition, evidence suggests income is not the major pathway through which spousal retirement influences their partner' s health.

Table of Contents

I. Introduction 1

II. Related Literature 4

III. Data and methods 9

IV. Results 13

V. Discussion 15

VI. Conclusion 17

References 19

Appendix 24


application/pdf Honors Thesis 38 pages (254.3 KB) [Access copy of Honors Thesis]
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