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Economic Incentives to Retire: A Qualitative Choice Approach

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  • Olivia S. Mitchell
  • Gary S. Fields

Abstract

This paper addresses two questions:(1) Are older persons' retirement ages significantly affected by the opportunities for income from earnings,private pensions, and Social Security and for leisure at alternative retirement ages?; and (2) How large are the estimated responses? Our approach to modeling the retirement problem is a forward-looking one, in which the explanatory variables include present discounted values of expected lifetime income from earnings, private pensions, and Social Security at all future retirement ages. Such data have been constructed using a unique archive on 390 workers covered by a large union pension plan. A previous paper (Fieldsand Mitchell, 1982) used these data to show that retirement ages are significantly associated with the present discounted value of income at age 60, and with the gain in income from deferring retirement. The current paper develops two different qualitative choice models of the retirement decision. We find: retirement ages do indeed respond significantly to future income and leisure opportunities; an ordered logit model is more suited to the data than is a multinomial logit model; and the estimated responses to changes in future income opportunities differ across model specifications, where the preferred ordered logit model exhibits larger estimated responses.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 1096.

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Date of creation: Mar 1983
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1096

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  1. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1984. "Partial retirement and the analysis of retirement behavior," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 37(3), pages 403-415, April.
  2. Hausman, Jerry A & Wise, David A, 1978. "A Conditional Probit Model for Qualitative Choice: Discrete Decisions Recognizing Interdependence and Heterogeneous Preferences," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(2), pages 403-26, March.
  3. Gary S. Fields & Olivia S. Mitchell, 1982. "Economic Determinants of the Optimal Retirement Age: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 0876, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Olivia S. Mitchell & Gary S. Fields, 1981. "The Effects of Pensions and Earnings on Retirement: A Review Essay," NBER Working Papers 0772, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Daniel McFadden, 1977. "Modelling the Choice of Residential Location," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 477, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  6. D. McFadden & J. Hausman, 1981. "Specification Tests for the Multinominal Logit Model," Working papers 292, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. Crawford, Vincent P & Lilien, David M, 1981. "Social Security and the Retirement Decision," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 96(3), pages 505-29, August.
  8. Small, Kenneth A, 1982. "The Scheduling of Consumer Activities: Work Trips," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 467-79, June.
  9. John B. Burbidge & A. Leslie Robb, 1980. "Pensions and Retirement Behaviour," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 13(3), pages 421-37, August.
  10. Richard V. Burkhauser, 1979. "The Pension Acceptance Decision of Older Workers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(1), pages 63-75.
  11. Edward P. Lazear, 1982. "Severance Pay, Pensions, and Efficient Mobility," NBER Working Papers 0854, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Michael D. Hurd, 1990. "The Joint Retirement Decision of Husbands and Wives," NBER Chapters, in: Issues in the Economics of Aging, pages 231-258 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1983. "Social Security Reform and Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 1212, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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