Date of Award

January 2020

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Xi Chen


Despite continuing debate about the impact of retirement on healthcare utilization, there has been mixed evidence. Understanding this relationship is important in considering the full costs of policies to increase the age of retirement, as countries such as China are considering. This study uses data from medical records on individuals who got treatment in 1348 Chinese hospitals. We take advantage of the fact that retirement is mandatory in China and that the age of retirement is 50 for blue-collar females, 55 for white-collar females and 60 for all males. This allows us to estimate the causal effects of retirement on healthcare use via a Regression Discontinuity Design approach. We find an increase of 8 percent in hospital admission rate at retirement for males but none for blue-collar female, and only 2 percent increase for white-collar female workers. The increase in the admission rate among males is largely due to treatment for respiratory diseases, while the increase among females is driven by treatment for external causes and mental illnesses. Moreover, we find that total medical expenses per hospital stay and expenses per patient day for males increases by 8 percent and 14 percent, respectively, but not for females. We find no effect of retirement on in-hospital mortality and proportion of Emergency Room admission. These findings are robust to several placebo tests, model specifications, and bandwidths, however, some limitations remain.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access