- Japan Epidemiological Association
- Journal of Epidemiology (ISSN:09175040)
- pp.JE20210030, (Released:2021-05-15)
Background: Encouraging older adults to continue working longer would be a realistic solution to the shrinking labor force, which is a result of the aging population. This study examined whether working longer improves the health of older adults.Methods: We used repeated cross-sectional data from 1,483,591 individuals aged 55–69 years collected from 11 waves of a nationwide population-based survey conducted in Japan from 1986 to 2016. We estimated pooled regression models to explain health outcomes by work status, controlling for potential endogeneity biases. Based on the estimation results, we conducted simulations to predict the health impact of policy measures that encourage older adults to participate in the labor force.Results: The regression analysis showed that work status had a mixed health impact. For example, work reduced the probability of poor self-rated health by 6.7 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 6.2–7.2) percentage points and increased that of psychological distress by 12.2 (95% CI: 11.3–13.1) percentage points. The simulation results showed that raising both the mandatory retirement age and eligibility age for claiming public pension benefits to 70 years would increase the employment rate by 27.8 (standard deviation [SD]: 4.2) percentage points among those aged 65–69 years, which would reduce their probability of poor self-rated health by 1.8 (SD: 0.4) percentage points and raise that of psychological distress by 4.1 (SD: 0.8) percentage points for that age group.Conclusions: The results suggest the need to pay attention to the health outcomes of policy measures that encourage older adults to work longer.