In this paper, we investigate health and aging before and after retirement for specific occupational groups. We use five waves of the Survey of Health, Aging, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) dataset and construct a frailty index for elderly men and women from 10 European countries. We classify occupation by low vs. high education, blue vs. white collar color, and by high vs. low physical or psychosocial job burden. Controlling for individual fixed effects, we find that, regardless of the used classification, workers from the first (low status) group display more health deficits at any age and accumulate health deficits faster than workers from the second (high status) group. We instrument retirement by statutory retirement ages ("normal" and "early") and find that the health of workers in low status occupations benefits greatly from retirement, whereas retirement effects for workers in high status occupations are small and frequently insignificant. We also find that workers from low status occupations accumulate health deficits faster after retirement, i.e. we find evidence for an occupational health gradient that widens with increasing age, before and after retirement.
health deficits occupation retirement frailty index Europe