The effect of pensions on longevity: Evidence from Union Army veterans

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This study uses changes in pension laws for Union Army veterans as a natural experiment to estimate the causal effect of pensions on longevity, and to examine potential pathways underlying such a relationship. I examine the effects of the pension laws of 1907 and 1912, which granted old-age pensions to Union Army veterans. Veteran pensions reduced age-adjusted mortality by 11.5% for law of 1907 pensions and by 29.6% for law of 1912 pensions. Pensions reduced mortality for both acute and non-acute causes of death but reductions in mortality were strongest for mortality from infectious diseases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)595-619
JournalEconomic Journal
Issue number552
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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