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Efficient Windows and Labor Force Reduction

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  • Robin L. Lumsdaine
  • James H. Stock
  • David A. Wise

Abstract

Recently many U.S. firms have offered "window" plans that provide bonuses to a group of workers if the worker retires within a specified short time span. This paper examines a window plan at a Fortune 500 firm, and addresses two main issues. First, what was the effect of the window plan on departures? Second, assuming a variety of possible firm objectives, what would be the design of an efficient window plan? These questions are addressed using the retirement model in Stock and Wise [1988a, 1988b] . The model, estimated using data for an earlier year, predicts well out-of-sample the subsequent large increase in retirements under the window plan. We find that while the firm successfully maximized departures, if its goal was to minimize either expected future wage payments or the current cost per induced retirement, the firm could have saved more with efficient plans constructed using the model. One interpretation is that the firm was primarily interested in reducing the overall size of the labor force or in retiring older employees to allow promotion of younger employees.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3369.

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Date of creation: May 1990
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Publication status: published as Journal of Public Economics, Vol. 43, pp. 131-159, 1990.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3369

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References

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  1. 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.
  2. Zvi Bodie & John B. Shoven & David A. Wise, 1987. "Issues in Pension Economics," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bodi87-1, January.
  3. Jeremy I. Bulow, 1981. "Early Retirement Pension Benefits," NBER Working Papers 0654, 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. Jeanne M. Hogarth, 1988. "Accepting an Early Retirement Bonus an Empirical Study," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 23(1), pages 21-33.
  6. Lazear, Edward P, 1979. "Why Is There Mandatory Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1261-84, December.
  7. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & David A. Wise, 1987. "Employee Retirement and a Firm's Pension Plan," NBER Working Papers 2323, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Gary S. Fields & Olivia S. Mitchell, 1984. "Retirement, Pensions, and Social Security," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262060914, December.
  9. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & David A. Wise, 1985. "Labor Compensation and the Structure of Private Pension Plans: Evidence for Contractual versus Spot Labor Markets," NBER Chapters, in: Pensions, Labor, and Individual Choice, pages 55-88 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & David A. Wise, 1987. "The Incentive Effects of Private Pension Plans," NBER Chapters, in: Issues in Pension Economics, pages 283-340 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Andrew Samwick & David A. Wise, 2003. "Option Value Estimation with Health and Retirement Study Data," NBER Chapters, in: Labor Markets and Firm Benefit Policies in Japan and the United States, pages 205-228 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Leora Friedberg & Michael T. Owyang, 2004. "Explaining the evolution of pension structure and job tenure," Working Papers 2002-022, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  3. Alan L. Gustman & F. Thomas Juster, 1995. "Income and Wealth of Older American Households: Modeling Issues for Public Policy Analysis," NBER Working Papers 4996, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Phillip B. Levine & Olivia S. Mitchell, 1991. "Expected Changes in the Workforce and Implications for Labor Markets," NBER Working Papers 3743, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Charles Brown, . "Early Retirement Windows," Pension Research Council Working Papers 98-17, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
  6. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 2004. "Social security, pensions and retirement behaviour within the family," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(6), pages 723-737.
  7. Arjan Heyma, 2004. "A structural dynamic analysis of retirement behaviour in the Netherlands," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(6), pages 739-759.
  8. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1994. "Employer-provided health insurance and retirement behavior," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 48(1), pages 124-140, October.
  9. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1994. "Retirement in a Family Context: A Structural Model for Husbands and Wives," NBER Working Papers 4629, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Daniel Hallberg & Matias Eklöf, 2010. "Do buy-outs of older workers matter?: Estimating retirement behavior with special early retirement offers," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 31(3), pages 337-359, July.
  11. Alan L. Gustman & Olivia S. Mitchell & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1993. "The Role of Pensions in the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 4295, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Robin L. Lumsdaine & James H. Stock & David A. Wise, 1995. "Why are Retirement Rates So High at Age 65?," NBER Working Papers 5190, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2001. "The Transition to Personal Accounts and Increasing Retirement Wealth: Macro and Micro Evidence," NBER Working Papers 8610, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Robin L. Lumsdaine & James H. Stock & David A. Wise, 1992. "Pension Plan Provisions and Retirement: Men & Women, Medicare, and Models," NBER Working Papers 4201, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. David Wise, 1997. "Retirement against the demographic trend: More older people living longer, working less, and saving less?," Demography, Springer, Springer, vol. 34(1), pages 83-95, February.

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