Use it Too Much and Lose Everything? The Effects of Hours of Work on Health
The “use it or lose it” hypothesis examines whether active involvement in work can prevent cognitive decline for elderly workers, but how much work is good for health is as yet unknown. We examine the causal impact of working hours on various health outcomes of Australian men aged 40 years and over using panel data from the HILDA survey over the period 2001 to 2012. To capture the potential non-linear dependence of health status on working hours, the models for health outcomes include working hours and its square as explanatory variables. We deal with the potential endogeneity of working hours by using the instrumental variable estimation technique with instruments based on the age for pension eligibility. There is time series variability in the pension eligibility ages for some men because in 2009, significant changes in pension eligibility ages were announced for some, but not all males. A non-linear causal effect of working hours on health is confirmed. For males working relatively moderate hours (up to around 24?27 hours for a week), an increase in working hours has a positive impact on health, but thereafter an increase in working hours has a negative impact on health.