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Economic Determinants of the Optimal Retirement Age: An Empirical Investigation

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  • Gary S. Fields
  • Olivia S. Mitchell

Abstract

In this paper we examine how the structures of earnings, Social Security, and pension benefits affect retirement behavior. We use an intertemporal model of labor supply, paying special attention to the institutional features of private pensions and Social Security benefits. This theoretical formulation produces comparative dynamic predictions and guides empirical modeling. Data from a new survey of workers and their income opportunities are used to implement the empirical model. On the basis of empirical retirement estimates, we conclude that (1) people with higher base wealth retire earlier, and (2) those who expect to gain more by postponing retirement retire later.

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  • Gary S. Fields & Olivia S. Mitchell, 1984. "Economic Determinants of the Optimal Retirement Age: An Empirical Investigation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 19(2), pages 245-262.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:19:y:1984:i:2:p:245-262
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jeremy I. Bulow, 1979. "Analysis of Pension Funding Under Erisa," NBER Working Papers 0402, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Richard V. Burkhauser, 1979. "The Pension Acceptance Decision of Older Workers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(1), pages 63-75.
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    5. Olivia S. Mitchell & Gary S. Fields, 1981. "The Effects of Pensions and Earnings on Retirement: A Review Essay," NBER Working Papers 0772, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. A. Zabalza & C. Pissarides & M. Barton, 1980. "Social security and the choice between full-time work, part-time work and retirement," NBER Chapters,in: Econometric Studies in Public Finance, pages 245-276 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Burtless, Gary & Hausman, Jerry, 1982. "`Double dipping': the combined effects of social security and civil service pensions on employee retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 139-159, July.
    8. Feldstein, Martin S, 1974. "Social Security, Induced Retirement, and Aggregate Capital Accumulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(5), pages 905-926, Sept./Oct.
    9. Sheshinski, Eytan, 1978. "A model of social security and retirement decisions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 337-360, December.
    10. Burtless, Gary & Hausman, Jerry A, 1978. "The Effect of Taxation on Labor Supply: Evaluating the Gary Negative Income Tax Experiments," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(6), pages 1103-1130, December.
    11. Vincent P. Crawford & David M. Lilien, 1981. "Social Security and the Retirement Decision," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 96(3), pages 505-529.
    12. 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.
    13. James J. Heckman & Thomas E. Macurdy, 1980. "A Life Cycle Model of Female Labour Supply," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(1), pages 47-74.
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