Does working life expectancy reflect health status?

Daniela Weber, Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU) and International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Elke Loichinger, Chulalongkorn University

The aim of the article is to analyze the relationship between working life expectancy (WLE) and health status at age 50 in Europe. We do so by analyzing past and present developments of WLE, healthy life expectancy (HLE) and three selected measures that capture physical, cognitive and mental health status for at least ten EU countries. All measures are calculated using the Sullivan Method. The data for labor force participation – needed for the prevalence of being economically active for calculating WLE – come from Eurostat and are based on the EU Labor Force Survey (EU LFS). Estimates for HLE come directly from Eurostat. Prevalence rates for three selected measures of health status are based on the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE): Physical health status is measured by hand-grip strength, cognitive health status is based on results of an episodic memory test, and mental health status is calculated using the risk of depression scale EURO-D. Our preliminary results indicate that working life expectancy and mental life expectancy, in particular, are highly correlated for both men and women, whereas the relationship between working life expectancy and healthy life expectancy is rather weak. Moreover, investigating the relationship between national factors and the diverse life expectancies shows that social benefits are significantly associated with the four life expectancy measures.

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 Presented in Session 39. Employment and well-being