nep-age New Economics Papers
on Economics of Ageing
Issue of 2016‒06‒04
eight papers chosen by
Claudia Villosio
LABORatorio R. Revelli

  1. Large-scale social transfer and labor market outcomes: The case of the South African pension program By Matsuda, Norihiko
  2. Food insecurity among older Europeans: Evidence from the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe By Nie, Peng; Sousa-Poza, Alfonso
  3. Understanding the Retirement-Consumption Puzzle through the Lens of Food Consumption − Fuzzy Regression-Discontinuity Evidence from Urban China By Deng, Tinghe; Chen, Qihui; Bai, Junfei
  4. Getting Older and Riskier: The Effect of Medicare on Household Portfolio Choices By Marco Angrisani; Vincenzo Atella; Marianna Brunetti
  5. No Country for Old Men: An Investment Motive for Downward Inter-generational Transfers in Rural China By Niu, Chiyu
  6. Food Stamps, Food Insufficiency, and Health of the Elderly By Rusmevichientong, Pimbucha; Gomez, Miguel; Ranney, Christine; Kaiser, Harry
  7. Producing reliable mortality estimates in the context of distorted population statistics: the case of Moldova By Olga Penina; Dmitri A. Jdanov; Pavel Grigoriev
  8. What causes inequity in access to publicly funded health services that are supposedly free at the point of use? A case of user fee exemptions for older people in Senegal By Philipa Mladovsky; Maymouna Bâ

  1. By: Matsuda, Norihiko
    Abstract: This paper evaluates the effects of the South African old age pension program, the largest cash transfer program in the country, on labor supply and employment of the elderly and prime-aged individuals. During 2008-2010 a policy change decreased the eligible ages for men from 65 to 60. Exploiting this change as a natural experiment, the paper finds that the pension significantly discourages the elderly to work. The intention-treat-effects estimated based on three different, independent datasets imply that the labor force participation rate of men aged 60--64 significantly decreased by 5.81% points, 9.63\% points, and 9.72% points, depending on the datasets used. Correspondingly, the probability to be employed decreased by 4.15-9.89% points. Besides, the local average treatment effects estimated suggest that once elderly people started receiving the benefit, the the probability to participate in the labor force and to be employed decreased by 29.2% points and 30.76% points, respectively, although these estimates are not statistically significant. In contrast, the paper fails to provide clear evidence of the effects on prime-aged individuals.
    Keywords: Social transfers, Pension, Labor supply, Retirement, South Africa, International Development, Labor and Human Capital, H55, I38, J08, J21, J26,
    Date: 2016–05
  2. By: Nie, Peng; Sousa-Poza, Alfonso
    Abstract: Using data from the fifth wave of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe, this study investigates the association between food insecurity (FI) and several demographic, socioeconomic, and health-related characteristics in a sample of European residents aged 50 and over. Our initial analysis reveals that in 2013, the proportions of 50+ individuals reporting an inability to afford meat/fish/poultry or fruit/vegetables more than 3 times per week were 11.1% and 12.6%, respectively. It also indicates that not only income but also functional impairment and chronic disease are significantly associated with an increased probability of food insecurity. In a subsequent nonlinear decompositional analysis of the food unaffordability gap between European countries with high versus low FI prevalence, our rich set of covariates explains 36 - 39% of intercountry differences, with household income, being employed, and having functional impairment and/or chronic disease as the most important contributors.
    Keywords: food unaffordability,decompositional analysis,older Europeans
    JEL: D12 D63 I31
    Date: 2016
  3. By: Deng, Tinghe; Chen, Qihui; Bai, Junfei
    Abstract: This paper attempts to provide an understanding of the widely-documented retirement-consumption puzzle from the perspective of food consumption. Exploiting urban China's "forced" retirement system, we use the legal retirement age cut-off as an instrumental variable for one's retirement status to estimate the causal impacts of retirement on four major aspects of food consumption for males aged 50-70 in urban China: food expenditure, time spent on food acquisition, the quantity and quality of food consumed. Our fuzzy regression-discontinuity analysis of the China Health and Nutrition Survey data finds that, consistent with the retirement-consumption puzzle, retirement reduces individuals' total food expenditure by 49%. However, retirement barely changes their quantity of food consumed (measure by total calorie intakes). Serving to reconcile the differential retirement impacts on elderly males' food expenditure and consumption, retirees are found to substitute their time for money in food acquisition upon retirement. However, they have to sacrifice some quality for quantity of food consumption while smoothing the latter. Given the criteria provided by the Chinese Nutrition Association, retirement negatively affects retirees' diet balance. They consume significantly less food with animal origins (and thus less fat and protein) and more grains (and thus more carbohydrate) upon retirement.
    Keywords: Food expenditure, Food consumption, Resource substitution, Retirement, Urban China, Consumer/Household Economics, Demand and Price Analysis, Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety, E20, J14, J26,
    Date: 2016–08–02
  4. By: Marco Angrisani (CESR, University of Southern California); Vincenzo Atella (CEIS,University of Rome "Tor Vergata"); Marianna Brunetti (DEF and CEIS, Università di Roma "Tor Vergata" and CeFin)
    Abstract: The rise of health-care costs has become an increasingly important contributor to financial risk for households. To the extent that these costs can be large, unpredictable, and not fully insured, they represent a source of background risk that could potentially deter households’ financial risk taking. Using longitudinal data from the Health and Retirement Study over the period 1992-2012, we adopt a fixed-effects estimation strategy to empirically test whether universal health insurance, such as the one provided by Medicare to over-65 Americans, acts as a shelter against this background risk and, in turn, promotes household stock holding. We find that households in poor health status, who face a higher risk of large medical expenses, are significantly less likely to hold stocks than their healthier counterparts. Yet, this gap is, for the most part, eliminated by Medicare eligibility. Notably, this offsetting effect is primarily experienced by households without private health insurance over the observation period. Our results are robust to several sample selections and model specifications.
    Keywords: Household portfolios; Health status; Medicare; Health insurance
    JEL: D14 I13 G11
    Date: 2016–05–31
  5. By: Niu, Chiyu
    Keywords: Community/Rural/Urban Development, Consumer/Household Economics, Institutional and Behavioral Economics, International Development, Public Economics,
    Date: 2016–05–25
  6. By: Rusmevichientong, Pimbucha; Gomez, Miguel; Ranney, Christine; Kaiser, Harry
    Abstract: A primary goal of the Food Stamp Program (FSP), the universal nation-wide welfare program for the poor and near poor, is to improve the well-being of elderly Americans. The overarching objective of this study is to determine whether and how elderly health status is affected by FSP participation, food insufficiency and other determinants. To carry out this goal, we first construct a theoretical framework to ascertain why so few eligible elderly households participate in the FSP, and how food intake affects health status. In addition, the model examines the main determinants of food insufficiency and how FSP participation and food insufficiency are linked to each other and then to health status. The data utilized in this study are a subset of the Health and Retirement Survey (HRS) from the year 2002. State-specific FSP criteria are used to determine the eligibility of elderly households in the sample. The method used to examine these linkages is a two-step econometric model. In the first step, a simultaneous multivariate Probit model of endogenous FSP participation and food insufficiency equations is estimated. Based on these results, we calculate predicted probabilities of FSP participation and food insufficiency for use in Step Two. In Step Two, an Ordered Probit of health status is estimated as a function of the predicted FSP participation and predicted food insecurity, controlling for other determinants of health status. The estimating procedure extends the Murphy and Topel’s (1985) standard error correction method to the case of two predicted explanatory variables. After correcting the standard errors, some coefficients lose their significance indicating the importance of the standard error correction procedure. Specifically, the coefficient of the probability of FSP participation on elderly health switches from being statistically significant to insignificant after the correction. Conversely, even with the correction, being food insufficient significantly worsen health status. The results suggest that FSP net benefits, though increasing food purchasing power, are inadequate to help elderly to achieve the minimum threshold of food intake that could significantly improve health status.
    Keywords: Food Stamp Program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), food insufficiency, health outcome, Health Economics and Policy, D12, I12, I38, I32,
    Date: 2015
  7. By: Olga Penina; Dmitri A. Jdanov (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Pavel Grigoriev (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)
    Abstract: Background and Aim Despite having a functioning population register, the official demographic indicators in Moldova are seriously biased. The problem arises primarily because the registration of deaths and births covers only the events that occur within the country (the de facto population), whereas the population at risk includes Moldovan citizens who live abroad (the de jure population). Because the country has high levels of emigration, there are substantial differences between the de facto and the de jure population numbers. Thus, the nominator-denominator bias must be taken into account in the population statistics. To obtain plausible demographic rates, appropriate corrections of population size have to be made. Our aim is to estimate the size of the de facto Moldovan population, and to produce reliable mortality estimates for the longest period possible. Data and Methods We rely on official data obtained from various sources. These include mortality data, census counts, and annual population estimates collected from archives or obtained directly from the Moldovan National Bureau of Statistics. Using alternative administrative data sources, we first correct the size of the Moldovan population. We then generate adjusted population estimates. Finally, on the basis of the adjusted population estimates, we produce life tables. All of the calculations are performed using the methodology and programming tools developed within the Human Mortality Database (HMD) Project. Results Our corrected population estimates are 18 percent lower than the official figures. The adjusted estimates of life expectancy at birth in 2014 are 64.94 years for males and 73.74 years for females. These figures are, respectively, 2.58 years and 1.65 years lower than the official estimates. Our estimates of the size of the population are consistent with unpublished 2014 population census data. Complete life tables for the period 1970–2014, as well as some other HMD statistics, are provided as supplementary material. Conclusions We show that even when there is a serious distortion of population statistics, it is possible to obtain plausible mortality estimates. This issue is highly relevant not just for Moldova, but for other European countries that have also been experiencing problems with the incorrect registration of migration. To improve the quality of their population estimates, countries will increasingly have to consult alternative administrative data sources.
    Keywords: Moldova, mortality
    JEL: J1 Z0
    Date: 2015–11
  8. By: Philipa Mladovsky; Maymouna Bâ
    Abstract: Plan Sésame (PS) was launched in 2006 to provide free access to health services to Senegalese citizens aged 60 and over. As in many countries, this user fee exemption is marred by inequitable implementation. This study seeks to identify underlying causal mechanisms to explain how and why some people were relatively less likely to have access to publicly funded health care. Explanations identified in focus group and interview data are organised into four themes: (i) PS as a poorly implemented and accessed “right” to health care; (ii) PS as a “privilege” reserved for elites; (iii) PS as a “favour” or moral obligation to friends or family members of health workers; and (iv) PS as a “curse” caused by adverse incorporation. These results are analysed through critical realist and social constructivist epistemological lenses, in order to reflect on different interpretations of causality. Within the critical realist interpretation, the results point to a process of social exclusion. However, this interpretation, with its emphasis on objective reality, is contradicted by some local, subjective experiences of inequality and corruption. An alternative social constructionist interpretation of the results is therefore explored; it is argued this may be needed to prevent relatively powerful actors’ versions of the truth from prevailing.
    Keywords: Social exclusion; older people; universal health coverage; user fees; Senegal; critical realism
    JEL: E6
    Date: 2016–05

This nep-age issue is ©2016 by Claudia Villosio. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.