This paper utilizes census records, inpatient records, comprehensive surveys, and mortality records from England to trace out the effect of reaching retirement age on retirement status and health outcomes. Applying a regression discontinuity design leveraging the pension age, I find that retirement substantially improves well-being and reported health. I find no immediate effect of retirement on behavioral outcomes and no evidence of changes to cognitive ability, utilization, or mortality. While prior literature has considered the effects of retirement on specific outcomes, this paper systematically examines the full range of health-related outcomes with administrative and survey data in a unified context.
Accepted, American Journal of Health Economics
Among the elderly population that is hospitalized, about 20 percent are discharged to skilled nursing care facilities (SNFs), at a cost of over $30 billion annually. SNFs provide high-level care in an outpatient setting with the intent of reducing individuals’ time in the hospital and preventing readmissions. I leverage a Medicare policy that induces a discontinuity in the probability of being transferred to a SNF to estimate the effectiveness of SNF care. I find that SNF care reduces the probability of readmission to the hospital within 30 days by 33 percent, suggesting that SNF care substantially improves patient outcomes.
With Nicole Maestas and Carlos Dobkin
With Jeremy West, Rob Fairlie, and Bryan Pratt
Prior research indicates that financial encouragement often displaces intrinsic moti- vations, but not whether pecuniary interventions also crowd out external social pressure for prosocial behavior. Studying a large randomized field experiment across a sharp change in policy regimes, we find that normative peer comparisons cause significant water conservation invariant to the strength of pecuniary incentives targeting the same behavior. Dispelling potential threats to interpretation, we confirm using a regression discontinuity design that the financial incentive binds and also reduces water consump- tion. These findings demonstrate that strong economic incentives do not crowd out social pressure, an actionable insight for increasingly multidimensional policies.