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Does Money Relieve Depression? Evidence from Social Pension Expansions in China

Xi Chen, Tianyu Wang () and Susan Busch ()
Additional contact information
Tianyu Wang: Renmin University of China
Susan Busch: Yale University

No 10037, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Abstract: We estimate the impact of pension enrollment on mental well-being using China's New Rural Pension Scheme (NRPS), the largest existing pension program. Since its launch in 2009, more than 400 million Chinese have enrolled in NRPS. We first describe plausible pathways through which pension may affect mental health. We then use the national sample of China Family Panel Studies (CFPS) to examine the effect of pension enrollment on mental health, as measured by CES-D and self-reported depressive symptoms. To overcome the endogeneity of pension enrollment or of income change on mental health, we exploit geographic variation in pension program implementation. Results indicate modest to large reductions in depressive symptoms due to pension enrollment; this effect is more pronounced among individuals eligible to claim pension income, among populations with more financial constraints, and among those with worse baseline mental health. Our findings hold for a rich set of robustness checks and falsification tests.

Keywords: mental health; depression; pension income; older populations (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H55 I18 I38 J14 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 39 pages
Date: 2016-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-age, nep-cna, nep-ger, nep-hap, nep-hea, nep-lab and nep-pbe
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Published - published in: Social Science and Medicine, 2019, 220, 411-420.

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Journal Article: Does money relieve depression? Evidence from social pension expansions in China (2019) Downloads
Working Paper: Does Money Relieve Depression? Evidence from Social Pension Expansions in China (2018) Downloads
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