Men, Pensions and Wellbeing in Rural South Africa: Tracking Effects through Policy Shifts

Enid Schatz, University of Missouri, Columbia
Xavier Gómez-Olivé, University of the Witwatersrand
Margaret L. Ralston, University of Missouri, Columbia
Jane Menken, University of Colorado at Boulder
Stephen Tollman, University of the Witwatersrand

Pensions play an important role in older persons’ wellbeing in rural South Africa, with men and women reporting improved wellbeing in the years directly following pension-eligibility. Women’s age-eligibility has been set at 60 since the inception of South Africa’s non-contributory state-funded pension, whereas men until recently began receipt at age 65. As of 2010, men’s age of eligibility equalized with that of women. Using two panels of the WHO-Study of Global Aging and Adult Health study, collected in 2006 and 2010 in the MRC/Wits Rural Public Health and Health Transitions Research Unit (Agincourt) study site, we examine if “improvements” in men’s reports of wellbeing mirror men’s age-eligibility—65-69 in 2006, and 60-64 in 2010—thus tracking the pension-eligibility policy change. If “improvements” in wellbeing shift to younger ages in 2010, this would confirm that the age patterns of reported wellbeing may be attributed to the pension and its effects.

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Presented in Session 187: Public Policy and Families in Developing Countries