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The Economics of Retirement Behavior

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  • Mitchell, Olivia S
  • Fields, Gary S

Abstract

This paper examines the role of economic factors in determining retirement behavior using a unique new data archive on more than 8,700 workers covered by ten different pension plans. We build on our earlier work by estimating several different retirement models including linear as well as discrete choice formulations. This framework provides new insights into how andwhy retirement ages differ across firms. We conclude that older workers' income opportunities differ depending on their pension rules, which in turn have a powerful influence on their retirement patterns. In addition the models indicate that older workers' tastes for income are not uniform,either across individuals or across firms.Finally, we show that retirement age differences are in part due to differences in worker preferences and in part due to differences in income opportunities. There appears to be some evidence of worker sorting across pension plans.
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Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:2:y:1984:i:1:p:84-105
    DOI: 10.1086/298024
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    1. Roger H. Gordon & Alan S. Blinder, 1980. "Market Wages, Reservation Wages, and Retirement Decisions," NBER Chapters, in: Econometric Studies in Public Finance, pages 277-308, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Olivia S. Mitchell & Gary S. Fields, 1983. "Economic Incentives to Retire: A Qualitative Choice Approach," NBER Working Papers 1096, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Hausman, Jerry & McFadden, Daniel, 1984. "Specification Tests for the Multinomial Logit Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(5), pages 1219-1240, September.
    4. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1984. "Partial Retirement and the Analysis of Retirement Behavior," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 37(3), pages 403-415, April.
    5. Lazear, Edward P, 1979. "Why Is There Mandatory Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1261-1284, December.
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