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Journal of Health Economics

Late-career unemployment and cognitive abilities

We study the effect of unemployment on cognitive abilities among individuals aged between 50 and 65 in Europe. To this end, we exploit plant closures and use flexible event-study estimations together with an experimentally elicited measure of fluid intelligence, namely word recall. We find that, within a time period of around eight years after the event of unemployment, cognitive abilities only deteriorate marginally — the effects are insignificant both in statistical and economic terms. We do, however, find significant effects of late-career unemployment on the likelihood to leave the labor force, and short-term effects on mental health problems such as depression and sleep problems.

Freise, D., H. Schmitz and M. Westphal (2022), Late-career unemployment and cognitive abilities. Journal of Health Economics, 86, 102689

DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2022.102689