Gaining weight through retirement? Results from the SHARE survey

M.G. Godard

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This paper estimates the causal impact of retirement on the Body Mass Index (BMI) of adults aged 50-69 years old, on the probability of being either overweight or obese and on the probability of being obese. Based on the 2004, 2006 and 2010-2011 waves of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), our identification strategy exploits variation in European Early Retirement Ages (ERAs) and stepwise increases in ERAs in Austria and Italy between 2004 and 2011 to examine an exogenous shock to retirement behavior. Our results show that retirement induced by discontinuous incentives in early retirement schemes causes a 12-percentage point increase in the probability of being obese among men within a two- to four-year period. We find that the impact of retirement is highly non-linear and mostly affects the right-hand side of the male BMI distribution. Additional results show that this pattern is driven by men retiring from strenuous jobs and by those who were already at risk of obesity. In contrast, no significant results are found among women.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-46
JournalJournal of Health Economics
Issue numberJanuary
Early online date23 Nov 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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