Social Indicators Research

, Volume 119, Issue 3, pp 1411–1446 | Cite as

Assessing Health Endowment, Access and Choice Determinants: Impact on Retired Europeans’ (In)activity and Quality of Life

  • Luis Pina Rebelo
  • Nuno Sousa Pereira


A future for the E.U., dominated by an ever-increasing population of retired citizens represents a major challenge to social and health policy in European countries. Under Rowe and Kahn’s (Gerontol 37(4):433–440, 1997) perspective on positive aging, this paper is interested in exploring the role of health on citizens’ active participation after retirement and social engagement to life and quality of life. This paper also aims at finding whether Sen’s (Public health, ethics, and equity. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2004) capability approach or cumulative disadvantage or advantage theory relative to the access to health also verifies in a context of multi-national developed economies. The first part of this study is therefore concerned with generating a health indicator that enables this, whilst controlling for individual heterogeneity in self-rated health responses from 10,859 retired individuals from the SHARE survey. Socioeconomic determinants of health are found not to be critical in determining health in such a developed context whilst cumulative advantage is found relevant for the positive aging of Europeans. Evidence is found that active engagement in activities and quality of life are most certainly a prerogative for the more educated and the healthier retirees, hinting a strategy for European policymakers: cumulative advantage, leveraged by education and health policy, might just be the long-term strategy for contouring an aging and unproductive European population, transforming what could be a ‘burden’ into an asset.


Health policy strategies Active aging Well-being Econometric modeling 



A first version of this paper was funded by Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT), through a PhD scholarship with reference SFRH/BD/23669/2005, financed by POPH—QREN and also by the European Social Fund and national funds from the Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Ensino Superior (MCTES). A working paper version of this paper was accepted at the 3rd Advanced Summer School in Economics and Econometrics, August 2008, with Distinguished Guest Professor William H. Greene lecturing on the topic of ‘Discrete Choice Modeling’. The authors are very grateful to him for his comments and all the constant support which he has given since then.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Economics and Management (FEG)Universidade Católica PortuguesaPortoPortugal
  2. 2.Faculty of Economics (FEP), Porto Business School and CEF.UPUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal

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