Older Americans’ health and the Great Recession
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We use 2009 American Association for Retired Persons and Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) data to determine how older Americans respond to job loss, decreases in housing and financial wealth, and threats to health insurance. Some respond by leaving prescriptions unfilled, postponing needed health care, and/or stopping 401K contributions. The MEPS confirms our conclusions about the importance of job loss and health insurance for those 45 years old and older. Furthermore, direct measures of mental well-being from the MEPS demonstrate the negative impact of the Great Recession. Overall, our study fills a gap in the economics literature on the well-being of older citizenry during economic recession.
KeywordsRecession Elderly Mental health Permanent income hypothesis
JEL ClassificationD12 J14 J64
We thank the American Association for Retired Persons (AARP) for sharing data related to our study, and in particular Gerard (Chuck) Rainville who was instrumental in helping us gain access. We also thank two anonymous referees for valuable comments and suggestions.
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