Wharton Pension Research Council Working Papers

Document Type

Working Paper

Date of this Version



Understanding the link between retirement and health is crucial for both improving people's wellbeing and for designing optimal public policy around retirement. Yet, to date, the economics literature has been inconclusive about whether retirement causes improvements or deterioration in health. The lack of consensus is likely driven by differences in study design, population, and the age of workers and set of health outcomes studied. In this paper, I explain and distill the literature, highlight patterns in the highest-quality studies, and discuss the implications of the findings for longevity risk management and worker and retiree health going forward.


The published version of this working paper may be found in the 2022 publication: New Models for Managing Longevity Risk: Public-Private Partnerships.


Retirement, health, social security, working longer

Working Paper Number


Copyright/Permission Statement

All findings, interpretations, and conclusions of this paper represent the views of the author and not those of the Wharton School or the Pension Research Council. © 2020 Pension Research Council of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. All rights reserved.

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Economics Commons



Date Posted: 10 August 2020