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Why Are Retirement Rates So High at Age 65?

In: Advances in the Economics of Aging

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  • Robin L. Lumsdaine
  • James H. Stock
  • David A. Wise

Abstract

In most data sets of labor force participation of the elderly, an empirical regularity that emerges is that retirement rates are particularly high at age 65. While there are numerous economic reasons why individuals may choose to retire at 65, empirical models that have attempted to explain the age-65 spike have met with limited success. Interpreted another way, while many models would predict a jump in the hazard rate at age 65, the magnitude of the spike indicates excessive response given the economic considerations that retirees typically face. This paper considers the puzzle of why retirement rates are so high at age 65 and explores a variety of explanations.
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Suggested Citation

  • Robin L. Lumsdaine & James H. Stock & David A. Wise, 1996. "Why Are Retirement Rates So High at Age 65?," NBER Chapters,in: Advances in the Economics of Aging, pages 61-82 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:7318
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Berkovec, James & Stern, Steven, 1991. "Job Exit Behavior of Older Men," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(1), pages 189-210, January.
    2. Gustman, Alan L & Steinmeier, Thomas L, 1986. "A Structural Retirement Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 555-584, May.
    3. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & David A. Wise, 1987. "Pension Backloading, Wage Taxes, and Work Disincentives," NBER Working Papers 2463, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. John Rust & Christopher Phelan, 1997. "How Social Security and Medicare Affect Retirement Behavior in a World of Incomplete Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(4), pages 781-832, July.
    5. Blau, David M, 1994. "Labor Force Dynamics of Older Men," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(1), pages 117-156, January.
    6. Jonathan Gruber & Brigitte C. Madrian, 1996. "Health Insurance and Early Retirement: Evidence from the Availability of Continuation Coverage," NBER Chapters,in: Advances in the Economics of Aging, pages 115-146 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Lumsdaine, Robin L. & Stock, James H. & Wise, David A., 1990. "Efficient windows and labor force reduction," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 131-159.
    8. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1994. "Employer-Provided Health Insurance and Retirement Behavior," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, pages 124-140.
    9. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1985. "Can Small Deviations from Rationality Make Significant Differences to Economic Equilibria?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 708-720.
    10. John P. Rust, 1989. "A Dynamic Programming Model of Retirement Behavior," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of Aging, pages 359-404 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Lumsdaine, Robin L. & Stock, James H. & Wise, David A., 1990. "Efficient windows and labor force reduction," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 131-159.
    12. 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.
    13. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1994. "Employer-Provided Health Insurance and Retirement Behavior," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, pages 124-140.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies

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