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The Joint Retirement Decision of Husbands and Wives

In: Issues in the Economics of Aging

  • Michael D. Hurd

The objective of the paper is to find empirically whether husbands and wives tend to retire at the same time, and to give an explanation of the findings. Similarity of retirement dates could be caused by similarity of tastes (assortative mating), by economic variables, or by the complimentarity of leisure. Each explanation would have different implications for the response of retirement to policy changes. Both simple data analysis and economic models of the age of retirement point to coordination of retirement dates: husbands and wives tend to retire at the same time. According to the results, very little of the coordination is due to economic variables, and simple cross-tabulations rule out assortative mating as an important explanation. This leaves complimentarity of leisure. Because of data limitations, this conclusion is, however, mainly qualitative. The data set is the Mew Beneficiary Survey.

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This chapter was published in:
  • David A. Wise, 1990. "Issues in the Economics of Aging," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number wise90-1, August.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 7119.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:7119
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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    Web page: http://www.nber.org
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    1. Sickles, Robin C & Taubman, Paul, 1986. "An Analysis of the Health and Retirement Status of the Elderly," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(6), pages 1339-56, November.
    2. Olivia S. Mitchell & Gary S. Fields, 1983. "The Economics of Retirement Behavior," NBER Working Papers 1128, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Michael J. Boskin & Michael D. Hurd, 1977. "The Effect of Social Security on Early Retirement," NBER Working Papers 0204, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Gustman, Alan L & Steinmeier, Thomas L, 1986. "A Structural Retirement Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 555-84, May.
    5. 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.
    6. Burtless, Gary & Moffitt, Robert A, 1985. "The Joint Choice of Retirement Age and Postretirement Hours of Work," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(2), pages 209-36, April.
    7. Pozzebon, Silvana & Mitchell, Olivia S, 1989. "Married Women's Retirement Behavior," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 39-53.
    8. Diamond, P. A. & Hausman, J. A., 1984. "Individual retirement and savings behavior," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1-2), pages 81-114.
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