Retirement Decisions of Women and Men in Response to Their Own and Spousal Health

by Serhii Ilchuk

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Abstract

This dissertation examines the impact of individual and spousal health on the retirement decisions of both spouses in dual-earner families. The author uses survival analysis techniques to analyze eight biennial waves of a nationally representative panel survey of the U.S. population over age 50. Of the various causes of early retirement, the onset of work disability or functional disability has the biggest effect, followed by major health events and chronic illnesses. The onset of a husband's work disability can lead to an earlier age of retirement not only for the husband himself but also, through joint retirement, for his wife. The author also calculates cost-of-illness estimates for indirect costs (productivity lost through an early retirement) of different health conditions at the individual and societal levels, and estimates total family productivity lost due to the spouse's work disability.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Background

  • Chapter Three

    Data and Methods

  • Chapter Four

    Effects of Own Health

  • Chapter Five

    Effects of Spousal Health

  • Chapter Six

    Costs-of-illness estimates

  • Chapter Seven

    Discussion and Policy Implications

  • Appendix A

    Tables

  • Appendix B

    Figures

This document was submitted as a dissertation in March 2009 in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the doctoral degree in public policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. The faculty committee that supervised and approved the dissertation consisted of Dana Goldman (Chair), James Hosek, and Michael Hurd.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation dissertation series. PRGS dissertations are produced by graduate fellows of the Pardee RAND Graduate School, the world's leading producer of Ph.D.'s in policy analysis. The dissertations are supervised, reviewed, and approved by a PRGS faculty committee overseeing each dissertation.

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