Pension exposure and health: Evidence from a longitudinal study in South Africa


Carlos Riumallo Herl, Chodziwadziwa Kabudula, Kathleen Kahn, Stephen Tollman, and David Canning. 9/6/2022. “Pension exposure and health: Evidence from a longitudinal study in South Africa.” The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, 23, Pp. 100411. Publisher's Version


Social protection schemes have been expanding around the world with the objective of protecting older persons during retirement. While theoretically they have been seen as tools to improve individual wellbeing, there are few studies that evaluate whether social pensions can improve health. In this study, we exploit the change in eligibility criteria for the South African Old Age grant to estimate the association between pension exposure eligibility and health of older persons. For this, we use data from the Health and Aging in Africa: A longitudinal Study of an INDEPTH Community in South Africa (HAALSI) and model pension exposure in terms of its cumulative effect. Our results show that pension exposure is associated with better health as measured by a set of health indices. Disentangling these effects, we find that pension exposure is most likely to improve health through the delayed onset of physical disabilities in the elderly population. Our study highlights the relevance of social protection schemes as a mechanism to protect older persons physical health.
Last updated on 09/14/2022