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Are Traditional Retirements a Thing of the Past? New Evidence on Retirement Patterns and Bridge Jobs

Author

Listed:
  • Kevin E. Cahill
  • Michael D. Giandrea
  • Joseph F. Quinn

    () (Boston College)

Abstract

This paper investigates whether permanent, one-time retirements are coming to an end just as the trend towards earlier and earlier retirements did nearly 20 years ago. We explore how common bridge jobs are among today's retirees, and how uncommon traditional retirements have become. Methods: Using data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), we explore the work histories and retirement patterns of a cohort of retirees aged 51 to 61 in 1992 over a ten-year time period in both a cross-sectional and longitudinal context. Bridge job determinants are examined using bivariate comparisons and a multinomial logistic regression model of the bridge job decision. Results: We find that one-half to two-thirds of the HRS respondents with full-time career jobs take on bridge jobs before exiting the labor force completely. We also find that bridge job behavior is most common among younger respondents, respondents without defined-benefit pension plans, and respondents at the lower- and upper-end of the wage distribution. Implications: The evidence suggests that changes in the retirement income landscape since the 1980s appear to be taking root. Going forward, traditional retirements will be the exception rather than the rule.

Suggested Citation

  • Kevin E. Cahill & Michael D. Giandrea & Joseph F. Quinn, 2005. "Are Traditional Retirements a Thing of the Past? New Evidence on Retirement Patterns and Bridge Jobs," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 626, Boston College Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:626
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Christopher J. Ruhm, 1995. "Secular Changes in the Work and Retirement Patterns of Older Men," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(2), pages 362-385.
    2. Samwick, Andrew A., 1998. "New evidence on pensions, social security, and the timing of retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 207-236, November.
    3. F. Thomas Juster & Richard Suzman, 1995. " An Overview of the Health and Retirement Study," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30, pages s7-s56.
    4. Courtney Coile & Jonathan Gruber, 2001. "Social Security Incentives for Retirement," NBER Chapters,in: Themes in the Economics of Aging, pages 311-354 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Ruhm, Christopher J, 1990. "Bridge Jobs and Partial Retirement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(4), pages 482-501, October.
    6. Joseph F. Quinn & Olivia S. Mitchell, "undated". "Social Security on the Table," Pension Research Council Working Papers 96-3, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
    7. 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.
    8. Marjorie Honig & Giora Hanoch, 1985. "Partial Retirement as a Separate Mode of Retirement Behavior," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 20(1), pages 21-46.
    9. Jill Quadagno & Joseph Quinn, 1996. "Does Social Security Discourage Work?," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 322., Boston College Department of Economics.
    10. Bridgitte C. Madrian, 1994. "The Effect of Health Insurance on Retirement," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(1), pages 181-252.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. David Neumark, 2008. "The Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the Challenge of Population Aging," NBER Working Papers 14317, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Maria Casanova, 2012. "Wage and Earnings Profiles at Older Ages," Working Papers 2012-001, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    3. Diana Warren, 2008. "Retirement Expectations and Labour Force Transitions: The Experience of the Baby Boomer Generation," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2008n24, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    4. Giorgio Brunello & Monica Langella, 2013. "Bridge jobs in Europe," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 2(1), pages 1-18, December.
    5. Bender, Keith A. & Mavromaras, Kostas G. & Theodossiou, Ioannis & Wei, Zhang, 2014. "The Effect of Wealth and Earned Income on the Decision to Retire: A Dynamic Probit Examination of Retirement," IZA Discussion Papers 7927, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. David Neumark & Joanne Song, 2012. "Barriers to Later Retirement: Increases in the Full Retirement Age, Age Discrimination, and the Physical Challenges of Work," Working Papers wp265, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    7. David Neumark & Patrick Button, 2014. "Did Age Discrimination Protections Help Older Workers Weather the Great Recession?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 33(3), pages 566-601, June.
    8. Michael P. Cameron & Peggy Koopman-Boyden & Matthew Roskruge, 2015. "Labour Force Participation, Human Capital and Wellbeing among Older New Zealanders," Working Papers in Economics 15/07, University of Waikato.
    9. David Warner & Mark Hayward & Melissa Hardy, 2010. "The Retirement Life Course in America at the Dawn of the Twenty-First Century," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 29(6), pages 893-919, December.
    10. Maria Casanova, 2012. "Wage and Earnings Profiles at Older Ages," 2012 Meeting Papers 1166, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    11. Laura Turner & Giovanni Gallipoli, 2011. "Social Security, Endogenous Retirement, and Intrahousehold Cooperation," 2011 Meeting Papers 935, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    12. Muhammad Rahman, 2008. "Demographic Uncertainty and Welfare in a Life-Cycle Model Under Alternative Public Pension Systems," Caepr Working Papers 2008-024, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economics of Aging; Partial Retirement; Gradual Retirement;

    JEL classification:

    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions

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