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Research Seminars & Workshops @ IRES

Does Money Relieve Depression? Evidence from Social Pension Eligibility

Professor Chen Xi
Yale University

Date: 17 May 2017 (Wednesday)
Time: 10.00 – 11.30am
Venue: SDE2 Level 3 ER4
Chair: Dr Qin Yu

Xi Chen, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of Public Health (Health Policy), of Global Health, of Economics, and of Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Yale University. He is a faculty fellow at the Yale Institution for Social and Policy Studies (ISPS), the Yale Climate Change and Health Initiative, the Yale Macmillan Center for International and Area Studies, the Yale Institute for Network Science (YINS), and a faculty advisor of the Yale-China Association. His areas of interest involve Health, Labor, Development Economics, and Applied Econometrics and Quantitative Methods. Specifically, his research focuses on the following areas: 1) early life development; 2) population aging and public policies; 3) climate change and health; 4) social network interactions; and 5) quality of life.

Chen is a research fellow at the IZA Institute of Labor Economics, fellow at the Global Labor Organization (GLO), President-Elect (2016-2018) and President (2018-2020) of the China Health Policy and Management Society (CHPAMS), a reviewer of the National Sciences Foundation (NSF), an associate editor of China Health Review, a reviewer of 30 peer-reviewed journals, and a visiting professor at Nanjing University. He has been consulting for United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER) and United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD). Chen's work has been recognized through numerous awards, including the Best China Paper from the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA) China Sessions (2011), the George Warren Award from Cornell University (2012), the Outstanding Ph.D. Dissertation Award from the AAEA (2013), the MacMillan Faculty Research Award at Yale University (2013, 2017), James Tobin Summer Research Award at Yale Economics Department (2014), the Kempf Award (2017), an award from the National Institute of Health / National Institute on Aging (NIH/NIA) (2015), and the U.S. PEPPER Center Scholar Award (2016). His research has been covered in various popular media, such as The Macmillan Report, The Economist, The Washington Post, The Times of London, The New York Times, Time Magazine, Business Insider, and China Central Television. Chen obtained a Ph.D. in Applied Economics from Cornell University.

We estimate the impact of pension enrollment on mental well-being using China’s New Rural Pension Scheme launched in 2009, the largest pension program in the world. More than four hundred million Chinese have enrolled in the program, and the program on average amounts to 15 percent of earned income. We use the national sample of the China Family Panel Studies and exploit the variation in the implementation of the pension program to overcome the endogeneity of pension enrollment or of income change on mental health as measured by the full version of CES-D and depressive symptoms. Results reveal a sizeable reduction in depressive symptoms due to pension enrollment; this effect is more pronounced among those who are eligible to claim pension income, and for vulnerable populations with more financial constraints and worse mental health. Our findings hold for a rich set of robustness checks and falsification tests. We further discuss plausible pathways through which pension may affect mental health.

For more information please contact IRES at 6516 8288 or 6516 6947

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