DONDENA Seminar Series FALL 12/12/2022

Roentgen Room 3.B3-SR01 + ZOOM MEETINGS

Depression and Early Retirement Age: Causal Evidence from a Gene-Environment Setup


Differences in genetic endowments can make individuals more or less reactive to changes in their environment (such as policy interventions and living conditions). We here estimate the role of the individual genetic propensity to be depressed as a moderating factor of the association between the exposure to a pension reform in the UK and health outcomes. Using data from the Understanding Society longitudinal study in the UK and exogenous variations in early retirement age from the 1995 to 2011 Pensions Acts, we first show that women who are exposed to an increase in pension age are more likely to stay in employment and less likely to retire. We then show that the reform has a detrimental effect on their mental and physical health. While the labour-market effect is orthogonal to the genetic predisposition for depression, we find that the adverse health effects of the reform are only found for women with a higher genetic propensity to be depressed. We additionally provide evidence that the health effects of the reform are driven by women whose labour market status is affected by the reform. Our results suggest that labour market reforms can have unexpected effects on individuals’ health that enhance genetic health inequalities.



Giorgia Menta is a post-doctoral researcher at the Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER). After obtaining her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Economics and Social Sciences from Bocconi University, she completed her PhD in Economics at the University of Luxembourg in 2021.

Her research interests lie in the field of applied microeconomics, with a focus on the economics of gender, health, education, and the labour market. Her research has been published in highly ranked peer-reviewed international outlets, such as the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization and the Journal of Economic Inequality.

During her PhD, she developed an interest in social-science genomics, that is the integration of genetic data into social-science research. Recently, she has been working on how the genetic determinants of mental ill-health can interact with policy and family environment, contributing to the persistence of health and socio-economic inequalities.


Please note that the seminar will be in a hybrid format (presence + Zoom meetings at the following link: