The Impact of Public Pension Policy on the Well-Being of Older Adults: An Analysis of Longitudinal Cross-National Data

by Esteban Calvo, Boston College

A basic assumption of most social policies is that they will improve well-being. Financial indicators are very informative about the economic well-being of older adults. However, we cannot say that older adults live well if they are in poor health or deem their lives undesirable. This study will assess the influence of old-age public pension policy on the wellbeing of older adults, with a focus on two outcomes that have been largely overlooked in previous cross-national research on pension policy: variation across countries with respect to health and mental health levels for older adults. Longitudinal data for industrialized and developing countries will be used to explore the effect of the level of public pension policy individualization and total public pension expenditures on both health and mental health. The set of predictors will also include indicators of cultural values (e.g. traditional/secular and survival/self-expression) and economic prosperity, as they are likely to directly influence wellbeing of older adults and to moderate the effect of pension policy. Control variables will include individuals’ characteristics, demographics, living arrangements, and structural characteristics of welfare states.

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