Project: Research project

Project Details


This application seeks support for a secondary analysis of three waves
of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) that measure cognitive
functioning and employment status over a six-year period among a
nationally representative sample of pre-retirement-age Americans. Many
studies in recent years provide evidence that deterioration in physical
health is the primary determinant of early retirement from paid work.
Far less attention has focused on the extent to which cognitive
functioning may affect exists from work. Given changes in the labor
market in recent decades, optimal cognitive functioning may be as
important, and in some case not more important, a prerequisite for
continuing employment as good physical health.

The primary focus of the proposed research is to examine the extent to
which changes in cognitive functioning affect the transition from paid
work to retirement. Specifically, it aims to answer two questions: What
are the cognitive antecedents of retirement? And, what are other health
antecedents of retirement? The specific objectives are: (1) to estimate
the effects of changes in cognitive functioning as well as other
measures of health (e.g., physical illnesses, sensory impairments, and
depressive symptoms), net of other individual sociodemographic and job-
related characteristics, on the move from paid work to retirement
between 1992 and 1996, among older adults who were current workers in
1992; (2) similarly, to estimate the effects of changes in spousal
cognitive functioning and other measures of health on the move to
retirement; and (3) to discern whether these effects differ by gender
or ethnic minority category, where possible.

The principal investigator expects to follow up on this proposed study
with future examinations of the effects of changes in spousal and family
(as well as respondent) characteristics other than health as an
important part of the joint decision-making process hypothesized to be
taken by couples as one or both move(s) from paid work to retirement.
In addition, she expects to explore the extent to which differential
pre-retirement characteristics such as cognitive functioning interact
with retirement to influence both post-retirement behaviors and economic
Effective start/end date7/15/986/30/00


  • National Institute on Aging


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