IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Retirement Incentives, Individual Heterogeneity and Labour Transitions of Employed and Unemployed Workers

  • J. Ignacio García-Pérez
  • Sergi Jiménez-Martín
  • Alfonso R. Sánchez-Martin

In this paper we analyze the sensitivity of the labour market decisions of workers close to retirement with respect to the incentives created by public regulations. We improve upon the extensive prior literature on the effect of pension incentives on retirement in two ways. First, by modeling the transitions between employment, unemployment and retirement in a simultaneous manner, paying special attention to the transition from unemployment to retirement (which is particularly important in Spain). Second,by considering the influence of unobserved heterogeneity in the estimation of the effectof our (carefully constructed) incentivevariables. Using administrative data, we find that, when properly defined, economic incentives have a strong impact on labour market decisions in Spain. Unemployment regulations are shown to be particularly influential for retirement behaviour, along with the more traditional determinants linked to the pension system. Pension variables also have a major bearing on both workers' reemployment decisions and on the strategic actions of employers. The quantitative impact of the incentives, however, is greatly affected by the existence of unobserved heterogeneity among workers. Its omission leads to sizable biases in the assessment of the sensitivity to economic incentives, a finding that has clear consequences for the credibility of any model-based policy analysis. We confirm the importance of this potential problem in one especially interesting instance: the reform of early retirement provisions undertaken in Spain in 2002. We use a difference-in-difference approach to measure the behavioural reaction to this change, finding a large overestimation when unobserved heterogeneityis not takeninto account.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 513.

in new window

Date of creation: Oct 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:513
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27, 08005 Barcelona

Phone: +34 93 542-1222
Fax: +34 93 542-1223
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Michele Boldrin & Sergi Jiménez-Martín & Franco Peracchi, 2004. "Micro-Modeling of Retirement Behavior in Spain," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Programs and Retirement around the World: Micro-Estimation, pages 499-578 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Hairault, Jean-Olivier & Langot, François & Ménard, Sébastien & Sopraseuth, Thepthida, 2011. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance for Older Workers," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 1107, CEPREMAP.
  3. Sergi Jiménez-Martín & Alfonso R. Sánchez, 2003. "An evaluation of the life-cycle effects of minimum pensions on retirement behavior," Economics Working Papers 715, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jun 2006.
  4. Andrew A. Samwick, 1998. "New Evidence on Pensions, Social Security, and the Timing of Retirement," NBER Working Papers 6534, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Courtney Coile & Phillip B. Levine, 2009. "The Market Crash and Mass Layoffs: How the Current Economic Crisis May Affect Retirement," NBER Working Papers 15395, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. repec:hal:wpaper:hal-00668989 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. John Rust & Christopher Phelan, 1994. "How Social Security and Medicare Affect Retirement Behavior in a World of Incomplete Markets," Public Economics 9406005, EconWPA, revised 06 Jul 1994.
  8. Maia Güell & Barbara Petrongolo, 2003. "How Binding are Legal Limits? Transitions from Termporary to Permanent Work in Spain," Working Papers 75, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  9. Eric French, 2000. "The effects of health, wealth, and wages on labor supply and retirement behavior," Working Paper Series WP-00-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  10. Victor Aguirregabiria & Pedro mira, 2007. "Dynamic Discrete Choice Structural Models: A Survey," Working Papers tecipa-297, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  11. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-90, October.
  12. Jean-Olivier Hairault & Francois Langot & Thepthida Sopraseuth, 2010. "Distance to Retirement and Older Workers' Employment: The Case for Delaying the Retirement Age," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(5), pages 1034-1076, 09.
  13. Jean-Olivier Hairault & François Langot & Thepthida Sopraseuth, 2008. "Quantifying the Laffer Curve on the Continued Activity Tax in a Dynastic Framework," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00178465, HAL.
  14. Peracchi, Franco & Jiménez-Martín, Sergi & Boldrin, Michele, 1997. "Social security and retirement in Spain," UC3M Working papers. Economics 6043, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
  15. Peter Whiteford & Edward Whitehouse, 2006. "Pension Challenges and Pension Reforms in Oecd Countries," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(1), pages 78-94, Spring.
  16. Van den Berg, Gerard J., 2001. "Duration models: specification, identification and multiple durations," Handbook of Econometrics, in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 55, pages 3381-3460 Elsevier.
  17. Arellano, Manuel & Bentolila, Samuel & Bover, Olympia, 1998. "Unemployment Duration, Benefit Duration and the Business Cycle," CEPR Discussion Papers 1840, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00178465 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Bruce D. Meyer, 1988. "Unemployment Insurance And Unemployment Spells," NBER Working Papers 2546, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Jean-Olivier Hairault & François Langot & Thepthida Sopraseuth, 2010. "Distance to Retirement and The Job Search of Older Workers: The Case For Delaying Retirement Age," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-00517107, HAL.
  21. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 2002. "The Social Security Early Entitlement Age in a Structural Model of Retirement and Wealth," NBER Working Papers 9183, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Jaap H. Abbring & Gerard J. van den Berg, 2003. "The identifiability of the mixed proportional hazards competing risks model," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series B, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 65(3), pages 701-710.
  23. Eytan Sheshinski, 1977. "A Model of Social Security and Retirement Decisions," NBER Working Papers 0187, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Heckman, James & Singer, Burton, 1984. "A Method for Minimizing the Impact of Distributional Assumptions in Econometric Models for Duration Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 271-320, March.
  25. J. Ignacio García Pérez & Alfonso R Sánchez Martín, 2008. "Social Security and the search behaviour of workers approaching retirement," Working Papers 08.03, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Department of Economics.
  26. Martínez-Granado, Maite & Labeaga, José M. & Jiménez-Martín, Sergi, 1999. "Health status and retirement decisison for older european couples," UC3M Working papers. Economics 6170, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
  27. M. Belloni & R. Alessie, 2008. "The Importance of Financial Incentives on Retirement Choices: New Evidence for Italy," Working Papers 08-10, Utrecht School of Economics.
  28. repec:hal:pseose:halshs-00856144 is not listed on IDEAS
  29. Hurd, Michael D, 1989. "Mortality Risk and Bequests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 779-813, July.
  30. Jose Ignacio Garcia Perez, 1997. "Las tasas de salida del empleo y del desempleo en España (1978-1993)," Investigaciones Economicas, Fundación SEPI, vol. 21(1), pages 29-53, January.
  31. Bernard Casey & Howard Oxley & Edward R. Whitehouse & Pablo Antolín & Romain Duval & Willi Leibfritz, 2003. "Policies for an Ageing Society: Recent Measures and Areas for Further Reform," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 369, OECD Publishing.
  32. Michele Belloni & Rob Alessie, 2008. "Retirement Choices: New Evidence for Italy," CeRP Working Papers 73, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
  33. repec:hal:cesptp:halshs-00856144 is not listed on IDEAS
  34. Jenkins, Stephen P, 1995. "Easy Estimation Methods for Discrete-Time Duration Models," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 57(1), pages 129-38, February.
  35. Courtney C. Coile & Phillip B. Levine, 2007. "Labor market shocks and retirement: Do government programs matter?," NBER Chapters, in: Trans-Atlantic Public Economics Seminar (TAPES), Public Policy and Retirement, pages 1902-1919 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  36. Andrew Chesher & Tony Lancaster, 1983. "The Estimation of Models of Labour Market Behaviour," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(4), pages 609-624.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:513. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Bruno Guallar)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.