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An analysis of well-being in retirement: The role of pensions, health, and ‘voluntariness’ of retirement


  • Bender, Keith A.


This paper examines a wide range of determinants of retiree well-being of retirees. Using data from the 2000 Health and Retirement Study, increases in economic factors such as income lead to higher well-being, although relative income has a larger effect than absolute income. The strongest predictors are the voluntariness of entering retirement, pension characteristics, and health. Retirees “forced” to retire or have defined contribution pensions or bad health have significantly lower well-being. The results suggest a more nuanced approach in addressing retiree well-being than just a focus on the economic well-being of retirees.

Suggested Citation

  • Bender, Keith A., 2012. "An analysis of well-being in retirement: The role of pensions, health, and ‘voluntariness’ of retirement," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 41(4), pages 424-433.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:41:y:2012:i:4:p:424-433 DOI: 10.1016/j.socec.2011.05.010

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    7. Robert Haveman & Karen Holden & Kathryn Wilson & Barbara Wolfe, 2003. "Social security, age of retirement, and economic well-being: Intertemporal and demographic patterns among retired-worker beneficiaries," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 40(2), pages 369-394, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bonsang, Eric & Klein, Tobias J., 2012. "Retirement and subjective well-being," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 311-329.
    2. Zhiming Cheng, 2014. "The Effects of Employee Involvement and Participation on Subjective Wellbeing: Evidence from Urban China," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 118(2), pages 457-483, September.
    3. Marzieh Abolhassani & Rob Alessie, 2013. "Subjective Well-Being Around Retirement," De Economist, Springer, vol. 161(3), pages 349-366, September.
    4. Adrian Chadi & Clemens Hetschko, 2017. "Income or Leisure? On the Hidden Benefits of (Un-) Employment," IAAEU Discussion Papers 201706, Institute of Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union (IAAEU).
    5. Nosi, Costanza & D’Agostino, Antonella & Maria Pagliuca, Margherita & Alberto Pratesi, Carlo, 2014. "Saving for old age: Longevity annuity buying intention of Italian young adults," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 85-98.
    6. repec:eee:socmed:v:181:y:2017:i:c:p:122-130 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Subjective well-being; Employee pension plans; Retirement; Health;

    JEL classification:

    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being


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