Working Paper Series, UCD Centre for Economic Research 15/04
Despite the fact that there are over a million new cancer cases detected in the U.S. every year, none of retirement-health literature focuses specifically on the effect that cancer has on retirement. Social Security may offer a pathway to retirement for eligible workers but the separate effects of both cancer, and Social Security, on retirement, need to be accounted for. I use the fact that some workers will be eligible for Social Security when they are diagnosed with cancer, while some will not, as a source of exogenous variation to identify the joint effect of cancer diagnosis and Social Security eligibility on retirement. With data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), I use a difference-in-differences model to show that being eligible for Social Security, and surviving cancer, increases the probability of retirement by 11.2% for male workers. Given the increase in both cancer survival rates, and the number of older workers in the labour force, it is important to know if cancer is causing permanent exits, in a population who otherwise would continue working.