Abstract

Retirement is a critical life event for older people. Health scholars have scrutinized the health effects of retirement, but its consequences on age-related diseases and mortality are unclear. We extend this body of research by integrating measurements of biological age, representing the physiological decline preceding disease onset. Using data from the UK Biobank and a fuzzy regression discontinuity design, we estimated the effects of retirement on two biomarker-based biological age measures. Results showed that retirement significantly increases biological age for those induced to retire by the State Pension eligibility by 0.871–2.503 years, depending on sex and specific biological age measurement. Given the emerging scientific discussion about direct interventions to biological age to achieve additional improvements in population health, the positive effect of retirement on biological age has important implications for an increase in the State Pension eligibility age and its potential consequences on population health, public health care policy, and older people's labor force participation. Overall, this study provides novel empirical evidence contributing to the question of what social factors make people old.

You do not currently have access to this content.