The goal of this paper is to draw attention to the long lasting effect of education on economic outcomes. The researchers use the relationship between education and two routes to early retirement - the receipt of Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) and the early claiming of Social Security retirement benefits - to illustrate the long-lasting influence of education.
Both men and women with less than a high school degree had a median DI participation rate is 6.6 times the participation rate for those with a college degree or more. Similarly, men and women with less than a high school education are over 25 percentage points more likely to claim Social Security benefits early than those with a college degree or more.
The direct effect of education is much greater for early claiming of Social Security benefits than for DI participation, accounting for 72 percent of the effect of education for men and 67 percent for women.