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Bulls, bears, and retirement behavior

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  • Courtney C. Coile
  • Phillip B. Levine

Abstract

The authors examine the relationship between stock market performance and retirement behavior. They first present a descriptive analysis of the wealth holdings of older households and simulate the labor supply response among stockholders necessary to generate observed retirement patterns. Few households, they find, have substantial stock holdings, and these holdings would have to be extremely responsive to market fluctuations to explain observed labor force patterns. The authors then exploit stock market fluctuations since the early 1980s (particularly the boom and bust between 1995 and 2002), along with variation in stock exposure, to generate a double quasi-experiment, comparing the retirement and labor force re-entry patterns over time of those more and less exposed to the market. Any difference in behavior that emerged during the boom should have reversed itself during the bust. The authors find no evidence that changes in the stock market drove aggregate trends in labor supply. (Free full-text download available at http://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/ilrreview/.)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School in its journal ILR Review.

Volume (Year): 59 (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 (April)
Pages: 408-429

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Handle: RePEc:ilr:articl:v:59:y:2006:i:3:p:408-429

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References

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  1. Andy Eschtruth & Jonathan Gemus, 2002. "Are Older Workers Responding To The Bear Market?," Just the Facts jtf-5, Center for Retirement Research.
  2. Joulfaian, D. & Wilheim, M.O., 1992. "Inheritance and Labor Supply," Papers 6-92-2, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  3. Leora Friedberg & Anthony Webb, 2005. "Retirement and the Evolution of Pension Structure," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(2).
  4. Eric M. Engen & William G. Gale & Cori E. Uccello, 2004. "Effects of Stock Market Fluctuations on the Adequacy of Retirement Wealth Accumulation," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College 2004-16, Center for Retirement Research.
  5. Michael Hurd & Monika Reti, 2003. "The Effects of Large Capital Gains on Work and Consumption: Evidence from Four Waves of the HRS," Working Papers 03-14, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  6. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 2002. "Retirement and the Stock Market Bubble," NBER Working Papers 9404, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Gary Burtless & Joseph F. Quinn, 2002. "Is Working Longer the Answer for an Aging Workforce?," Issues in Brief ib2002-11, Center for Retirement Research, revised Dec 2002.
  8. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas & Joulfaian, David & Rosen, Harvey S, 1993. "The Carnegie Conjecture: Some Empirical Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(2), pages 413-35, May.
  9. Gabor Kezdi & Purvi Sevak, 2004. "Economic Adjustment of Recent Retirees to Adverse Wealth Shocks," Working Papers wp075, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  10. Purvi Sevak, 2002. "Wealth Shocks and Retirement Timing: Evidence from the Nineties," Working Papers wp027, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  11. Ing-Haw Cheng & Eric French, 2000. "The effect of the run-up in the stock market on labor supply," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q IV, pages 48-65.
  12. Guido W. Imbens & Donald B. Rubin & Bruce I. Sacerdote, 2001. "Estimating the Effect of Unearned Income on Labor Earnings, Savings, and Consumption: Evidence from a Survey of Lottery Players," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 778-794, September.
  13. Donald Bruce & Douglas Holtz-Eakin & Joseph F. Quinn, 2000. "Self-Employment and Labor Market Transitions at Older Ages," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 490, Boston College Department of Economics.
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