Is Working Longer in Jeopardy? Health and Labor Force Participation of Middle-Aged Europeans
We use SHARE data from eight European countries to measure the evolution of health of middle-aged individuals over time. In contrast to earlier findings in Europe, we observe a stalling health trend for individuals of later year of birth using an index measuring health deficits. We even observe a slightly negative trend for men and large heterogeneity when we stratify by wealth and education. The difference between cohorts is largest for males who spent relatively few years in education. All this reflects recent developments in the US where life expectancy is decreasing. Closely connected to health trends of middle-aged individuals we further investigate developments in labor market participation rates over time using the European Labor Force Survey. We do not find any evidence for falling or stagnating employment rates and thus no correlation between health and employment trends. Health does not seem to be a main driver in the decision whether to participate in the labor market or not.