Does Encouraging Americans to Work Longer Affect Health?
Maria Fitzpatrick aims to identify the causal effect of extended employment policies on the health of older Americans. In the early 1980s, changes to the Social Security program increased the full retirement age and decreased the generosity of benefits claimed before reaching full retirement age for cohorts born between 1938 and 1943. This policy shift extended the time older Americans spent in the workforce, but the full impact of the policy on the health of older Americans is unknown.
This project will improve knowledge of how public policies aimed at extending the working lives of older Americans affect the mortality, other health outcomes, and health care expenses of people as they age. It will inform policymakers who are considering strategies for improving the health, as well as extending the careers of older workers. It will also contribute to a growing body of research investigating the relationship between length of careers and the mental and physical health of an aging population.