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Do Retirement Dreams Come True? The Effect of Unanticipated Events on Retirement Plans


  • Kathryn H. Anderson
  • Richard V. Burkhauser
  • Joseph F. Quinn


Analyzing data from the Retirement History Study, the authors find that the retirement plans of male workers aged 58–63 in 1969 were significantly affected by unanticipated events over the next decade. Specifically, unanticipated increases in Social Security wealth induced retirement earlier than originally planned, as did deterioration in personal health, whereas the recession of the 1970s tended to delay retirement. This evidence that policy changes do affect retirement behavior in systematic ways provides support for the decision by Congress to defer until the turn of the century the application of several important provisions of the 1983 amendments to the Social Security Act.

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  • Kathryn H. Anderson & Richard V. Burkhauser & Joseph F. Quinn, 1986. "Do Retirement Dreams Come True? The Effect of Unanticipated Events on Retirement Plans," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 39(4), pages 518-526, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ilrrev:v:39:y:1986:i:4:p:518-526

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