Essays in the Economics of Aging

TitleEssays in the Economics of Aging
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsGottschalk, LMarie
Date Published2005
UniversityUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
CityUnited States -- Illinois
KeywordsAdult children, Income, Medicare/Medicaid/Health Insurance, Methodology

The three chapters of my dissertation consider various aspects of the economics of aging. Understanding the issues facing older people is important as the number of Americans over the age of 50 is growing and will continue to grow in the next decade. A particularly important issue among older workers is the rising divorce rates. Chapter One examines divorcee's retirement behavior and Chapter Two studies the effect of divorce on social service participation. Health insurance is also a major concern of older workers and Chapter Three examines the effect of Employer Provided Health Insurance (EPHI) on worker mobility. Divorce is particular concern, as the divorce rate increased 80% between 1980 and 2000 among people over the age of 50. This study uses a difference-in-difference strategy to determine the effect of divorce on retirement age in a sample of workers from the Health and Retirement Study(HRS). The results in Chapter One indicate male divorcees retire earlier and female divorcees delay retirement. For both men and women, remarriage eliminates divorce's effect. Additional results demonstrate that divorce's effect operates through both changes in household wealth and changes in preferences for leisure and retirement. Because divorce causes a decrease in household wealth, the increase in older divorcees may cause an increase in the number of older people relying on social services. Chapter Two uses data from the HRS to determine the effect of divorce on both eligibility and participation in Supplemental Security Income(SSI) and Medicaid. The results indicate that divorce greatly increases eligibility and participation in both programs. The final issue addressed in the paper is the reduction in job mobility caused by a person receiving health insurance through an employer. Previous studies have tried to determine whether EPHI reduces job mobility. However, these studies provide conflicting evidence on the significance and magnitude of job-lock. Chapter Three uses data from the HRS to show the degree to which omitted variable bias and misidentified workers effect job-lock measures and explain previous studies' differing results. With a full set of controls and controls for endogeneity, I find a mobility reduction of 20%.

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Short TitleEssays in the Economics of Aging
Citation Key6317