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

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

    ()

    (Boston College)

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.

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Paper provided by Boston College Department of Economics in its series Boston College Working Papers in Economics with number 626.

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Date of creation: 29 Sep 2005
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Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:626
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  1. Joseph F. Quinn & Olivia S. Mitchell, . "Social Security on the Table," Pension Research Council Working Papers 96-3, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
  2. 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.
  3. Jill Quadagno & Joseph Quinn, 1996. "Does Social Security Discourage Work?," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 322., Boston College Department of Economics.
  4. 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 181-152.
  5. Jonathan Gruber & Brigitte C. Madrian, 1993. "Health Insurance Availability and the Retirement Decision," NBER Working Papers 4469, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. Courtney Coile & Jonathan Gruber, 2000. "Social Security Incentives for Retirement," NBER Working Papers 7651, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Ruhm, Christopher J, 1990. "Bridge Jobs and Partial Retirement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(4), pages 482-501, October.
  9. 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.
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