The impact of work on cognition and physical disability: evidence from English women

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Document type
Working Paper
Banks, James; Cribb, Jonathan; Emmerson, Carl
Institute for Fiscal Studies
Date of publication
11 June 2019
IFS Working Paper W19/13
Trends: economic, social and technology trends affecting business, People management: all aspects of managing people
Business and management
Material type

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Delaying retirement has significant positive effects on the average cognition and physical mobility of women in England, at least in the short run.

Exploiting the increase in employment of 60-63 year old women resulting from the increase in the female State Pension Age, this paper shows that working substantially boosts performance on two cognitive tests, particularly for singles.

It also finds large improvements in measures of physical disability as a result of working: substantial increases in walking speed, and lower reports of mobility problems. However, for women in sedentary occupations, work reduces walking speed, due to lower levels of exercise.

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