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Why Are Retirement Rates So High at Age 65?

In: Advances in the Economics of Aging

Author

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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

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    1. Berkovec, James & Stern, Steven, 1991. "Job Exit Behavior of Older Men," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(1), pages 189-210, January.
    2. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1994. "Employer-Provided Health Insurance and Retirement Behavior," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 48(1), pages 124-140, October.
    3. Gustman, Alan L & Steinmeier, Thomas L, 1986. "A Structural Retirement Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 555-584, May.
    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. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & David A. Wise, 1987. "Pension Backloading, Wage Taxes, and Work Disincentives," NBER Working Papers 2463, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1985. "Can Small Deviations from Rationality Make Significant Differences to Economic Equilibria?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 708-720, September.
    7. 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.
    8. Lumsdaine, Robin L. & Stock, James H. & Wise, David A., 1990. "Efficient windows and labor force reduction," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 131-159, November.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. Blau, David M, 1994. "Labor Force Dynamics of Older Men," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(1), pages 117-156, January.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Gruber, Jonathan & Madrian, Brigitte C, 1995. "Health-Insurance Availability and the Retirement Decision," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 938-948, September.
    2. Mastrobuoni, Giovanni, 2011. "The role of information for retirement behavior: Evidence based on the stepwise introduction of the Social Security Statement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7), pages 913-925.
    3. Jan-Maarten van Sonsbeek & j.m.van.sonsbeek@vu.nl, 2011. "Micro simulations on the effects of ageing-related policy measures: The Social Affairs Department of the Netherlands Ageing and Pensions Model," International Journal of Microsimulation, International Microsimulation Association, vol. 4(1), pages 72-99.
    4. Marcus Dillender & Karen Mulligan, 2016. "The Effect of Medicare Eligibility on Spousal Insurance Coverage," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(5), pages 591-605, May.
    5. Luc Behaghel & David M. Blau, 2012. "Framing Social Security Reform: Behavioral Responses to Changes in the Full Retirement Age," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 41-67, November.
    6. Hanel, Barbara & Riphahn, Regina T., 2006. "Financial Incentives and the Timing of Retirement: Evidence from Switzerland," IZA Discussion Papers 2492, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. David M. Blau & Donna B. Gilleskie, 2001. "Retiree Health Insurance and the Labor Force Behavior of Older Men in the 1990s," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(1), pages 64-80, February.
    8. Mastrobuoni, Giovanni, 2009. "Labor supply effects of the recent social security benefit cuts: Empirical estimates using cohort discontinuities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(11-12), pages 1224-1233, December.
    9. Simon Rabaté, 2017. "Can I Stay or Should I Go? Mandatory Retirement and Labor Force Participation of Older Workers," PSE Working Papers halshs-01521150, HAL.
    10. 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.
    11. van der Klaauw, Wilbert & Wolpin, Kenneth I., 2008. "Social security and the retirement and savings behavior of low-income households," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 145(1-2), pages 21-42, July.
    12. Luc Behaghel & David M. Blau, 2010. "Framing social security reform: Behavioral responses to changes in the full retirement age," Working Papers halshs-00564950, HAL.
    13. Susan M. Dynarski, 2003. "Does Aid Matter? Measuring the Effect of Student Aid on College Attendance and Completion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 279-288, March.
    14. Luca Spataro, 2002. "New Tools in Micromodeling Retirement Decisions: Overview and Applications to the Italian Case," Computing in Economics and Finance 2002 109, Society for Computational Economics.
    15. Cribb, Jonathan & Emmerson, Carl & Tetlow, Gemma, 2016. "Signals matter? Large retirement responses to limited financial incentives," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 203-212.
    16. Malene Kallestrup-Lamb, 2011. "The Role of the Spouse in Early Retirement Decisions for Older Workers," CREATES Research Papers 2011-38, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    17. Michele Belloni & Rob Alessie, 2013. "Retirement Choices in Italy: What an Option Value Model Tells Us," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 75(4), pages 499-527, August.
    18. Asch, Beth & Haider, Steven J. & Zissimopoulos, Julie, 2005. "Financial incentives and retirement: evidence from federal civil service workers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2-3), pages 427-440, February.
    19. repec:eee:labchp:v:3:y:1999:i:pc:p:3261-3307 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. van Sonsbeek, Jan-Maarten, 2010. "Micro simulations on the effects of ageing-related policy measures," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 968-979, September.
    21. Steven Haider & David Loughran, 2001. "Elderly Labor Supply: Work or Play?," Working Papers 01-09, RAND Corporation.
    22. Romain Duval & Mehmet Eris & Davide Furceri, 2011. "The Effects of Downturns on Labour Force Participation: Evidence and Causes," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 875, OECD Publishing.
    23. Willis, Robert J., 1999. "Theory confronts data: how the HRS is shaped by the economics of aging and how the economics of aging will be shaped by the HRS," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 119-145, June.

    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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