It’s not the job that will kill you

“For a large group of workers in the US, retirement may have an immediate, negative relationship on an important health income,” Maria Fitzpatrick (Cornell U) and Timothy Moore (UniMelb) conclude in a new Journal of Public Economics article.

As health outcomes go the outcome identified is about as important as it gets – they crunched the numbers to find a 2 per cent increase in male mortality at 62, the age when Americans qualify for social security (there is an increase among women but it is not statistically significant). What is interesting, especially for men turning 62 and thinking of retiring is that  when that birthday was not the qualifying one there was no increase in deaths. And the per centage of men accessing social security at 62 is too big for it to be a case of blokes at risk of early death due to physically tough jobs retiring as soon as they can and promptly turning Norwegian Blue. Fitzpatrick and Moore explore a bunch of factors that occur to men retiring and are careful not to claim causality for retiring killing blokes but they are quite clear; “stopping work elevates mortality by 23 per cent.” So, is there a better age to retire or does retirement itself raise the risk of meeting the reaper? The authors suggest more research is needed – men contemplating retiring will agree.


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