The importance of financial incentives on retirement choices: New evidence for Italy
This study exploits a new dataset to quantify the effect of financial incentives on retirement choices. This dataset contains--for the first time for Italy--information on seniority. The effects of marginal incentives and social security wealth (SSW) on retirement go in the expected direction; when employees become eligible for pension benefits, the change in financial incentives they experience is so great that their retirement probability increases by 30 percentage points. We also find that the procedure used in previous Italian studies to impute seniority leads to a considerable overestimation of that variable and of SSW. We show that, due to these measurement errors, the estimate of the SSW coefficient takes the wrong sign. A comparison of retirement studies across countries (see Gruber and Wise [Gruber, J., and Wise, D., (2004). Social Security Programs and Retirement Around the World: Micro-Estimation, NBER. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London.]) provides prima facie evidence that a lack of good quality data often leads to wrongly signed estimates of the SSW coefficient.
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