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Closing Routes to Retirement: How Do People Respond?

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  • Johannes Geyer
  • Clara Welteke

Abstract

We present quasi-experimental evidence on the employment effects of an unprecedented large increase in the early retirement age (ERA). Raising the ERA has the potential to extend contribution periods and to reduce the number of pension beneficiaries at the same time, if employment exits are successfully delayed. However, workers may not be able to work longer or may choose other social support programs as exit routes from employment. We study the effects of the ERA increase on employment and potential program substitution in a regression-discontinuity framework. Germany abolished an important early retirement program for women born after 1951, effectively raising the ERA for women by three years. We analyze the effects of this huge increase on employment, unemployment, disability pensions, and inactivity rates. Our results suggest that the reform increased both employment and unemployment rates of women age 60 and over. However, we do not find evidence for active program substitution from employment into alternative social support programs. Instead employed women remained employed and unemployed women remained unemployed. The results suggest an increase in inequality within the affected cohorts.

Suggested Citation

  • Johannes Geyer & Clara Welteke, 2017. "Closing Routes to Retirement: How Do People Respond?," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1653, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp1653
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lukas Inderbitzin & Stefan Staubli & Josef Zweimüller, 2016. "Extended Unemployment Benefits and Early Retirement: Program Complementarity and Program Substitution," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, pages 253-288.
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    3. Giesecke, Matthias & Kind, Michael, 2013. "Bridge Unemployment in Germany: Response in Labour Supply to an Increased Early Retirement Age," Ruhr Economic Papers 410, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    4. Umut Oguzoglu & Cain Polidano & Ha Vu, 2016. "Impacts from Delaying Access to Retirement Benefits on Welfare Receipt and Expenditure: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2016n20, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    5. Staubli, Stefan & Zweimüller, Josef, 2013. "Does raising the early retirement age increase employment of older workers?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 17-32.
    6. Staubli, Stefan, 2011. "The impact of stricter criteria for disability insurance on labor force participation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(9-10), pages 1223-1235, October.
    7. Lex Borghans & Anne C. Gielen & Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2014. "Social Support Substitution and the Earnings Rebound: Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity in Disability Insurance Reform," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(4), pages 34-70, November.
    8. Axel Boersch-Supan & Christina B. Wilke, 2004. "The German Public Pension System: How it Was, How it Will Be," NBER Working Papers 10525, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Hanel, Barbara & Riphahn, Regina T., 2012. "The timing of retirement — New evidence from Swiss female workers," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(5), pages 718-728.
    10. Kadir Atalay & Garry F. Barrett, 2015. "The Impact of Age Pension Eligibility Age on Retirement and Program Dependence: Evidence from an Australian Experiment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 97(1), pages 71-87, March.
    11. Engels, Barbara & Geyer, Johannes & Haan, Peter, 2017. "Pension incentives and early retirement," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 216-231.
    12. Jonathan Cribb & Carl Emmerson & Gemma Tetlow, 2014. "Labour supply effects of increasing the female state pension age in the UK from age 60 to 62," IFS Working Papers W14/19, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    13. repec:zbw:rwirep:0410 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Norma B. Coe & Kelly Haverstick, 2010. "Measuring the Spillover to Disability Insurance Due to the Rise in the Full Retirement Age," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2010-20, Center for Retirement Research, revised Dec 2010.
    15. Ralf K. Himmelreicher & Michael Stegmann, 2008. "European Data Watch: New possibilities for socio-economic research through longitudinal data from the Research Data Center of the Federal German Pension Insurance (FDZ-RV)," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 128(4), pages 647-660.
    16. Duggan, Mark & Singleton, Perry & Song, Jae, 2007. "Aching to retire? The rise in the full retirement age and its impact on the social security disability rolls," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(7-8), pages 1327-1350, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Engels, Barbara & Geyer, Johannes & Haan, Peter, 2017. "Pension incentives and early retirement," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 216-231.
    2. Cristiano Antonelli, 2017. "The Engines of the Creative Response: Reactivity and Knowledge Governance," Economía: teoría y práctica, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, México, vol. 47(2), pages 9-30, Julio-Dic.
    3. Konle-Seidl, Regina, 2017. "Retention and re-integration of older workers into the labour market: What works?," IAB Discussion Paper 201717, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    4. Ardito, Chiara, 2017. "Rising Pension Age in Italy: Employment Response and Program Substitution," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201722, University of Turin.
    5. Songül Tolan, 2017. "The Effect of Partial Retirement on Labor Supply, Public Balances and the Income Distribution: Evidence from a Structural Analysis," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1679, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Retirement age; early retirement; regression discontinuity; pension reform; unemployment; labor supply; disability pension;

    JEL classification:

    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies

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