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Retirement incentives, individual heterogeneity and labour transitions of employed and unemployed workers

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  • J. Ignacio García-Pérez
  • Sergi Jiménez-Martín

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  • Alfonso R. Sánchez-Martín

Abstract

In this paper we analyze the sensitivity of the labour market decisions of workers close to retirement with respect to the incentives created by public regulations. We improve upon the extensive prior literature on the effect of pension incentives on retirement in two ways. First, by modeling the transitions between employment, unemployment and retirement in a simultaneous manner, paying special attention to the transition from unemployment to retirement (which is particularly important in Spain). Second, by considering the influence of unobserved heterogeneity in the estimation of the effect of our (carefully constructed) incentive variables. Using administrative data, we find that, when properly defined, economic incentives have a strong impact on labour market decisions in Spain. Unemployment regulations are shown to be particularly influential for retirement behaviour, along with the more traditional determinants linked to the pension system. Pension variables also have a major bearing on both workers’ reemployment decisions and on the strategic actions of employers. The quantitative impact of the incentives, however, is greatly affected by the existence of unobserved heterogeneity among workers. Its omission leads to sizable biases in the assessment of the sensitivity to economic incentives, a finding that has clear consequences for the credibility of any model-based policy analysis. We confirm the importance of this potential problem in one especially interesting instance: the reform of early retirement provisions undertaken in Spain in 2002. We use a difference-in-difference approach to measure the behavioural reaction to this change, finding a large overestimation when unobserved heterogeneity is not taken into account.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 1239.

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Date of creation: Oct 2010
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Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:1239

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Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/

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Keywords: Retirement; unemployment; incentives; Pension system; Unobserved; heterogeneity; Spain.;

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  1. Eric French, 2005. "The Effects of Health, Wealth, and Wages on Labour Supply and Retirement Behaviour," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(2), pages 395-427.
  2. Olympia Bover & Manuel Arellano & Samuel Bentolila, 2002. "Unemployment Duration, Benefit Duration and the Business Cycle," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(479), pages 223-265, April.
  3. José Ignacio García & Alfonso R. Sánchez Martín, 2008. "Social security and the search behaviour of workers approaching retirement," Economic Working Papers at Centro de Estudios Andaluces E2008/10, Centro de Estudios Andaluces.
  4. Coile Courtney C & Levine Phillip B, 2011. "The Market Crash and Mass Layoffs: How the Current Economic Crisis May Affect Retirement," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-42, April.
  5. John Rust & Christopher Phelan, 1997. "How Social Security and Medicare Affect Retirement Behavior in a World of Incomplete Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(4), pages 781-832, July.
  6. Pedro Mira & Victor Aguirregabiria, 2007. "Dynamic Discrete Choice Structural Models: A Survey," Working Papers wp2007_0711, CEMFI.
  7. Jose Ignacio Garcia Perez, 1997. "Las tasas de salida del empleo y del desempleo en España (1978-1993)," Investigaciones Economicas, Fundación SEPI, vol. 21(1), pages 29-53, January.
  8. Sergi Jiménez-Martín & Alfonso R. Sánchez Martín, 2003. "An evaluation of the life-cycle effects of minimum pensions on retirement behavior," Working Papers 108, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  9. Michele Belloni & Rob Alessie, 2008. "Retirement Choices: New Evidence for Italy," CeRP Working Papers 73, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
  10. Michele Boldrin & Sergi Jimenez-Martin & Franco Peracchi, 1999. "Social Security and Retirement in Spain," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security and Retirement around the World, pages 305-353 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Pilar García-Gómez & Sergi Jiménez-Martín & Judit Vall Castelló, 2014. "Financial Incentives, Health and Retirement in Spain," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Programs and Retirement Around the World: Disability Insurance Programs and Retirement National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. J. Ignacio García Pérez & Alfonso R. Sánchez Mártin, 2012. "Fostering job search among older workers: the case for pension reform," Working Papers 12.09, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Department of Economics.

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