IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Health status and retirement decisions for older European couples


  • Jiménez-Martín, Sergi

    (Universidad Carlos III, Madrid)

  • Labeaga, José M.

    (UNED, Madrid)

  • Martínez Granado, Maite

    (Universidad Carlos III, Madrid)


In this paper we use data the European Community Household Panel (ECHP) to describe and analyse the dynamics of joint labour force behaviour of older couples for the EU12 countries. We focus on three main issues: the relevance of joint retirement across EU12 countries, the existence of complementarities in leisure and/or assortative matting and the effects of health variables. Concerning the evidence, we first find that a working spouse is more likely to retire the more recently the other spouse has retired; this effect is stronger if the wife is the working spouse. Second, there is evidence of assortative mating and/or complementarities in leisure; the effects of all relevant factors on the retirement decision of one spouse depend strongly on whether the other one is working, unemployed, or retired. Third, besides the standard evidence that poor health increases the retirement probability, we find that the husband's health affects the couple's retirement decisions much more strongly than the wife's health does. Additional asymmetric effects are detected with respect to income related variables.

Suggested Citation

  • Jiménez-Martín, Sergi & Labeaga, José M. & Martínez Granado, Maite, 1999. "Health status and retirement decisions for older European couples," IRISS Working Paper Series 1999-01, IRISS at CEPS/INSTEAD.
  • Handle: RePEc:irs:iriswp:1999-01

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Berkovec, James & Stern, Steven, 1991. "Job Exit Behavior of Older Men," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(1), pages 189-210, January.
    2. Blau, David M, 1998. "Labor Force Dynamics of Older Married Couples," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(3), pages 595-629, July.
    3. Blau, David M. & Riphahn, Regina T., 1999. "Labor force transitions of older married couples in Germany," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 229-252, June.
    4. Hiedemann, Bridget, 1998. "A Stackelberg model of Social Security acceptance decisions in dual career households," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 263-278, February.
    5. Peracchi, Franco & Welch, Finis, 1994. "Trends in Labor Force Transitions of Older Men and Women," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(2), pages 210-242, April.
    6. Browning, Martin & Francois Bourguignon & Pierre-Andre Chiappori & Valerie Lechene, 1994. "Income and Outcomes: A Structural Model of Intrahousehold Allocation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(6), pages 1067-1096, December.
    7. Michael D. Hurd, 1990. "The Joint Retirement Decision of Husbands and Wives," NBER Chapters,in: Issues in the Economics of Aging, pages 231-258 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Richard Blundell & Pierre-Andre Chiappori & Thierry Magnac & Costas Meghir, 2007. "Collective Labour Supply: Heterogeneity and Non-Participation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(2), pages 417-445.
    9. Michele Boldrin & Juan J. Dolado & Juan F. Jimeno & Franco Peracchi, "undated". "The future of pension systems in Europe. A reappraisal," Working Papers 99-08, FEDEA.
    10. Courtney Coile & Jonathan Gruber, 2000. "Social Security and Retirement," NBER Working Papers 7830, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Diamond, P. A. & Hausman, J. A., 1984. "Individual retirement and savings behavior," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1-2), pages 81-114.
    12. Dwyer, Debra Sabatini & Mitchell, Olivia S., 1999. "Health problems as determinants of retirement: Are self-rated measures endogenous?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 173-193, April.
    13. Blau, David M, 1994. "Labor Force Dynamics of Older Men," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(1), pages 117-156, January.
    14. Sickles, Robin C & Taubman, Paul, 1986. "An Analysis of the Health and Retirement Status of the Elderly," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(6), pages 1339-1356, November.
    15. Jonathan Gruber & David A. Wise, 1999. "Introduction to "Social Security and Retirement around the World"," NBER Chapters,in: Social Security and Retirement around the World, pages 1-35 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Bound, John & Schoenbaum, Michael & Stinebrickner, Todd R. & Waidmann, Timothy, 1999. "The dynamic effects of health on the labor force transitions of older workers," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 179-202, June.
    17. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1994. "Retirement in a Family Context: A Structural Model for Husbands and Wives," NBER Working Papers 4629, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Michele Boldrin & Juan J. Dolado & Juan F. Jimeno & Franco Peracchi, 1999. "The future of pensions in Europe," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 14(29), pages 287-320, October.
    19. 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.
    20. Jonathan Gruber & David A. Wise, 1999. "Social Security and Retirement around the World," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number grub99-1, January.
    21. Kathryn H. Anderson & Richard V. Burkhauser, 1985. "The Retirement-Health Nexus: A New Measure of an Old Puzzle," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 20(3), pages 315-330.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Sergi Jiménez-Martín & José M. Labeaga & Cristina Vilaplana Prieto, "undated". "A sequential model for older workers’ labor transitions after a health shock," Working Papers 2005-23, FEDEA.
    2. Deschryvere, Matthias, 2004. "Labour Force Behavior of Elderly Two Adult Households: Evidence from EU-countries," Discussion Papers 933, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    3. Danilo Cavapozzi, 2008. "Health and Labor Supply Dynamics of Older Married Workers," "Marco Fanno" Working Papers 0073, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".
    4. Deschryvere, Matthias, 2004. "Health and Retirement. An Update of the Literature," Discussion Papers 932, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    5. García-Pérez, J. Ignacio & Jiménez-Martín, Sergi & Sánchez-Martín, Alfonso R., 2013. "Retirement incentives, individual heterogeneity and labor transitions of employed and unemployed workers," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(C), pages 106-120.
    6. Jennifer Roberts & Nigel Rice & Andrew M. Jones, 2008. "Early retirement and inequality in Britain and Germany: How important is health?," Working Papers 2008012, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics, revised Nov 2008.
    7. Zhiyang Jia, 2005. "Retirement Behavior of Working Couples in Norway. A Dynamic Programming Approach," Discussion Papers 405, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    8. Farré Lidia & González Libertad & Ortega Francesc, 2011. "Immigration, Family Responsibilities and the Labor Supply of Skilled Native Women," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-48, June.
    9. Monika Bütler & Olivia Huguenin & Federica Teppa, 2005. "Why Forcing People to Save Retirement May Backfire," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 05.05, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
    10. Barbara Lipszyc, 2002. "Vieillissement,Etat De Sante Et Cessation D’Activite," CREPP Working Papers 0214, Centre de Recherche en Economie Publique et de la Population (CREPP) (Research Center on Public and Population Economics) HEC-Management School, University of Liège.
    11. Jones, Andrew M. & Rice, Nigel & Roberts, Jennifer, 2010. "Sick of work or too sick to work? Evidence on self-reported health shocks and early retirement from the BHPS," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 866-880, July.
    12. Monika Bütler & Olivia Huguenin & Federica Teppa, 2005. "Why Forcing People to Save for Retirement May Backfire," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2005 2005-09, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
    13. Sánchez Martín, Alfonso R., 2010. "Endogenous retirement and public pension system reform in Spain," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 336-349, January.
    14. Michaud, P.C., 2003. "Joint Labour Supply Dynamics of Older Couples," Discussion Paper 2003-69, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    15. Monika Bütler & Olivia Huguenin & Federica Teppa, 2004. "What Triggers Early Retirement. Results from Swiss Pension Funds," CeRP Working Papers 35, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
    16. Michele Belloni & Elena Meschi & Giacomo Pasini, 2016. "The Effect on Mental Health of Retiring During the Economic Crisis," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25, pages 126-140, November.
    17. Nigel Rice & Jennifer Roberts & Andrew M. Jones, 2006. "Sick of work or too sick to work? Evidence on health shocks and early retirement from the BHPS," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 06/13, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    18. Karakaya, Güngör, 2008. "Early cessation of activity in the labour market: impact of supply and demand factors," MPRA Paper 13390, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. repec:eee:joecag:v:6:y:2015:i:c:p:149-162 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Pilar Garcia-Gomez & Hans van Kippersluis & Owen O'Donnell & Eddy van Doorslaer, 2011. "Effects of Health on Own and Spousal Employment and Income using Acute Hospital Admissions," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-143/2, Tinbergen Institute.
    21. Laura Turner & Giovanni Gallipoli, 2011. "Social Security, Endogenous Retirement, and Intrahousehold Cooperation," 2011 Meeting Papers 935, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    22. Zhiyang Jia, 2005. "Spousal Influence on Early Retirement Behavior," Discussion Papers 406, Statistics Norway, Research Department.

    More about this item


    joint retirement decisions ; labour force transitions ; health variables ; asymmetric effects;

    JEL classification:

    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:irs:iriswp:1999-01. 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: (Philippe Van Kerm). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.