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

Carlos Riumallo Herl*, Chodziwadziwa Kabudula, Kathleen Kahn, Stephen Tollman, David Canning

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100411
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Economics of Ageing
Volume23
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institute of Aging at the National Institute of Health (1P01AG041710-01A1, HAALSI – Health and Aging in Africa: Longitudinal Studies of INDEPTH Communities). The Agincourt HDSS was supported by the Wellcome Trust, UK (058893/Z/99/A, 069683/Z/02/Z, 085477/Z/08/Z and 085477/B/08/Z), and currently the University of the Witwatersrand, South African Dept. of Science and Innovation and Medical Research Council. Carlos Riumallo Herl received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 840591.

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institute of Aging at the National Institute of Health (1P01AG041710-01A1, HAALSI – Health and Aging in Africa: Longitudinal Studies of INDEPTH Communities). The Agincourt HDSS was supported by the Wellcome Trust, UK (058893/Z/99/A, 069683/Z/02/Z, 085477/Z/08/Z and 085477/B/08/Z), and currently the University of the Witwatersrand, South African Dept. of Science and Innovation and Medical Research Council. Carlos Riumallo Herl received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 840591.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s)

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