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The European Journal of Health Economics

, Volume 18, Issue 7, pp 805–830 | Cite as

Healthier lifestyles after retirement in Europe? Evidence from SHARE

  • Martina Celidoni
  • Vincenzo Rebba
Original Paper

Abstract

This paper investigates changes in health behaviours upon retirement, using data drawn from the Survey of Health Ageing and Retirement in Europe. By exploiting changes in eligibility rules for early and statutory retirement, we identify the causal effect of retiring from work on smoking, alcohol drinking, engagement in physical activity and visits to the general practitioner or specialist. We provide evidence about individual heterogeneous effects related to gender, education, net wealth, early-life conditions and job characteristics. Our main results––obtained using fixed-effect two-stage least squares––show that changes in health behaviours occur upon retirement and may be a key mechanism through which the latter affects health. In particular, the probability of not practicing any physical activity decreases significantly after retirement, and this effect is stronger for individuals with higher education. We also find that different frameworks of European health care systems (i.e. countries with or without a gate-keeping system to regulate the access to specialist services) matter in shaping individuals’ health behaviours after retirement. Our findings provide important information for the design of policies aiming to promote healthy lifestyles in later life, by identifying those who are potential target individuals and which factors may affect their behaviour. Our results also suggest the importance of policies promoting healthy lifestyles well before the end of the working life in order to anticipate the benefits deriving from individuals’ health investments.

Keywords

Retirement Health behaviour Fixed effects Instrumental variables SHARE 

JEL classification

I12 I18 J14 J26 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank Daniel Avdic, Marco Bertoni, Eric Bonsang, Giorgio Brunello, Emilia Del Bono, Mariacristina De Nardi, Peter Eibich, Fabrizio Mazzonna, Omar Paccagnella, Luca Salmasi, Elisabetta Trevisan, Guglielmo Weber, two anonymous referees, the participants at the 5th SHARE User Conference-Luxembourg (Luxembourg, 12–13 November 2015), the 11th iHEA World Congress in Health Economics (Milan, Italy, 12–15 July 2015), the Essen Health Conference (Essen, Germany, 29–31 May 2015) and the XIX AIES Conference (Venice, Italy, 27–28 October 2014). Funding from the University of Padua and Farmafactoring Foundation is gratefully acknowledged. This paper uses data from SHARE wave 4 release 1.1.1, as of 28 March 2013 (doi: 10.6103/SHARE.w4.111) or SHARE wave 1 and 2 release 2.6.0, as of 29 November 2013 (doi: 10.6103/SHARE.w1.260 and  10.6103/SHARE.w2.260) or SHARELIFE release 1, as of 24 November 2010 (doi: 10.6103/SHARE.w3.100). The SHARE data collection was funded primarily by the European Commission through the 5th Framework Programme (project QLK6-CT-2001-00360 in the thematic programme Quality of Life), through the 6th Framework Programme (projects SHARE-I3, RII-CT-2006-062193, COMPARE, CIT5- CT-2005-028857, and SHARELIFE, CIT4-CT-2006-028812) and through the 7th Framework Programme (SHARE-PREP, N° 211909, SHARE-LEAP, N° 227822 and SHARE M4, N° 261982). Additional funding from the US National Institute on Aging (U01 AG09740-13S2, P01 AG005842, P01 AG08291, P30 AG12815, R21 AG025169, Y1-AG-4553-01, IAG BSR06-11 and OGHA 04-064), and the German Ministry of Education and Research, as well as from various national sources is gratefully acknowledged (see http://www.share-project.org for a full list of funding institutions).

Compliance with ethical standards

Funding

This study was funded by the University of Padua (POPA_EHR-Population aging-economics, health, retirement and the welfare state); Martina Celidoni received research grants from Fondazione Farmafactoring (Bando 2014).

Conflict of interest

The two authors are involved in a scientific capacity in the design and running of the Survey on Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), which is the main data source used in the paper. They declare that they have no conflict of interest and no relevant or material financial interests that relate to the research described in this paper.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics and Management “Marco Fanno”University of PaduaPaduaItaly

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