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The Military Pension, Compensation, and Retirement of U.S. Air Force Pilots

In: Advances in the Economics of Aging


  • John Ausink
  • David A. Wise


This paper uses the option value model of Stock and Wise to analyze the departure patterns of a sample of pilots in the United States Air Force. Pilot compensation and the military pension are described, as are some details of the option value model and two other models: the Annualized Cost of Leaving (ACOL) model, which is used by the Department of Defense, and a variant of a dynamic programming model proposed by Daula and Moffitt. The option value model captures departure behavior much better than the ACOL model, and substantially better than the dynamic programming model. The superiority of the option value model to the dynamic programming formulation raises the possibility that individual decision-making may not always be best modeled by a formulation that is intended to capture 'correct' economic financial calculations. This is consistent with findings by Lumsdaine, Stock and Wise for civilians in a Fortune 500 firm.
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Suggested Citation

  • John Ausink & David A. Wise, 1996. "The Military Pension, Compensation, and Retirement of U.S. Air Force Pilots," NBER Chapters,in: Advances in the Economics of Aging, pages 83-114 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:7319

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Robin L. Lumsdaine & James H. Stock & David A. Wise, 1992. "Three Models of Retirement: Computational Complexity versus Predictive Validity," NBER Chapters,in: Topics in the Economics of Aging, pages 21-60 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cunha, Jesse M. & Menichini, Amilcar A. & Crockett, Adam, 2015. "The retention effects of high years of service cliff-vesting pension plans," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 6-9.
    2. repec:eee:labchp:v:3:y:1999:i:pc:p:3261-3307 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Beth Asch & Steve Haider & Julie Zissimopoulos, 2002. "The Retirement Behavior of Federal Civil Service Workers," Working Papers wp026, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    4. Andrew Samwick & David A. Wise, 2003. "Option Value Estimation with Health and Retirement Study Data," NBER Chapters,in: Labor Markets and Firm Benefit Policies in Japan and the United States, pages 205-228 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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