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Efficient Timing of Retirement


  • Geoffrey H. Kingston

    (University of New South Wales)


This study introduces a retirement decision into the class Merton model. A familiar result is that you should retire if and when the marginal utility of another year's wages is equal to the disutility of work.A new result is that at the point of retirement your exposure to risky assets should not jump. Under power utility and constant time preference, the retirement timing problem has a closed form solution; the nine inputs to the formula in question give rise to nine comparative-static results on retirement timing. Further specialization of preference, to log consumption utility and zero time preference, reduces the required number of inputs to four. (Copyright: Elsevier)

Suggested Citation

  • Geoffrey H. Kingston, 2000. "Efficient Timing of Retirement," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 3(4), pages 831-840, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:issued:v:3:y:2000:i:4:p:831-840
    DOI: 10.1006/redy.2000.0097

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Samwick, Andrew A., 1998. "New evidence on pensions, social security, and the timing of retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 207-236, November.
    2. B. Douglas Bernheim & Jonathan Skinner & Steven Weinberg, 2001. "What Accounts for the Variation in Retirement Wealth among U.S. Households?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 832-857, September.
    3. Mitchell, Olivia S & Fields, Gary S, 1984. "The Economics of Retirement Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(1), pages 84-105, January.
    4. Merton, Robert C., 1971. "Optimum consumption and portfolio rules in a continuous-time model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 373-413, December.
    5. Stock, James H & Wise, David A, 1990. "Pensions, the Option Value of Work, and Retirement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(5), pages 1151-1180, September.
    6. Courtney Coile & Jonathan Gruber, 2000. "Social Security and Retirement," NBER Working Papers 7830, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Barry J. Nalebuff & Richard J. Zeckhauser, 1985. "Pensions and the Retirement Decision," NBER Chapters,in: Pensions, Labor, and Individual Choice, pages 283-316 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Lazear, Edward P, 1979. "Why Is There Mandatory Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1261-1284, December.
    9. John B. Burbidge & A. Leslie Robb, 1980. "Pensions and Retirement Behaviour," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 13(3), pages 421-437, August.
    10. Gary S. Fields & Olivia S. Mitchell, 1984. "Retirement, Pensions, and Social Security," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262060914, January.
    11. Bodie, Zvi & Merton, Robert C. & Samuelson, William F., 1992. "Labor supply flexibility and portfolio choice in a life cycle model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 16(3-4), pages 427-449.
    12. repec:syd:wpaper:99-03 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Merton, Robert C, 1969. "Lifetime Portfolio Selection under Uncertainty: The Continuous-Time Case," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(3), pages 247-257, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hans G. Bloemen, 2016. "Private wealth and job exit at older age: a random effects model," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 51(2), pages 763-807, September.
    2. Haardt, David, 2006. "Transitions out of and back to employment among older men and women in the UK," ISER Working Paper Series 2006-20, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    3. Eduardo Roca & Victor Wong, 2008. "An analysis of the sensitivity of Australian superannuation funds to market movements: a Markov regime switching approach," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(7), pages 583-597.
    4. Boucekkine, Raouf & de la Croix, David & Licandro, Omar, 2002. "Vintage Human Capital, Demographic Trends, and Endogenous Growth," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 104(2), pages 340-375, June.
    5. Heijdra, Ben J. & Romp, Ward E., 2009. "Retirement, pensions, and ageing," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(3-4), pages 586-604, April.
    6. Farhi, Emmanuel & Panageas, Stavros, 2007. "Saving and investing for early retirement: A theoretical analysis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 87-121, January.
    7. LG Deidda & F. Cerina, 2002. "Do we need more time for leisure?," Working Paper CRENoS 200203, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
    8. David Dorn & Alfonso Sousa-Poza, 2005. "Early Retirement: Free Choice or Forced Decision," CESifo Working Paper Series 1542, CESifo Group Munich.
    9. Demirguc-Kunt,Asli & Klapper,Leora & Panos,Georgios A., 2016. "Saving for old age," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7693, The World Bank.
    10. repec:eee:dyncon:v:84:y:2017:i:c:p:58-76 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    retirement; life cycle model; optimal stopping problem;

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies


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