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The Implications for Health, Depression, and Life Satisfaction from a Permanent Increase in Income for the Disadvantaged Elderly: Evidence from Taiwan

Fu-Min Tseng () and Dennis Petrie ()

Review of Social Economy, 2014, vol. 72, issue 3, 311-336

Abstract: This paper uses an exogenous increase in income for a specific subgroup to explore the extent to which higher income leads to higher levels of health and well-being. In 1995, the Taiwanese government implemented the Senior Farmer Welfare Benefit Interim Regulation (SFWBIR) that was a pure cash injection to senior farmers. A difference-in-differences (DiD) approach is used on survey data from the Taiwanese Health and Living Status of Elderly in 1989 and 1996 to evaluate the short-term effect of the SFWBIR on self-assessed health, depression, and life satisfaction (LS). Senior manufacturing workers are employed as a comparison group for senior farmers in the natural experiment. This paper provides evidence that the increase in income caused by this pension reform significantly improved the mental health of senior farmers by reducing 1.697 points of the depression scale in DiD and 2.178 points in the robust estimation; however, it had no significant short-term impact on self-assessed health or LS.

Date: 2014
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DOI: 10.1080/00346764.2014.927725

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