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Patterns of Retirement as Reflected in Income Tax Records for Older Workers

  • Frank T. Denton
  • Ross Finnie
  • Byron G. Spencer

If retirement means a substantial and sustained reduction in the time spent working for pay or profit, measurement requires a definition of substantial and sufficient observations of the same individuals to determine whether a transition from “working” to “retired” status has occurred. Using the Statistics Canada Longitudinal Administrative Databank, a 20 percent sample of the individual income tax returns of all tax filers since 1980, we identify those with significant labour force attachment at ages 50-52, and follow them year by year. If retired means having no income from employment, the median age of retirement is about 63 for men, 62 for women. That is true for all cohorts. If earning up to half of one’s previous employment income is deemed consistent with being retired, the median age is about 60 for both men and women. Results obtained in this way are consistent with calculations based on Labour Force Survey data.

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File URL: http://socserv.mcmaster.ca/qsep/p/qsep434.pdf
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Paper provided by McMaster University in its series Quantitative Studies in Economics and Population Research Reports with number 434.

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Length: 78 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mcm:qseprr:434
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  1. Frank T. Denton & Byron G. Spencer, 2009. "Population Aging, Older Workers, and Canada’s Labour Force," Quantitative Studies in Economics and Population Research Reports 433, McMaster University.
  2. Ronald Lee, 2003. "The Demographic Transition: Three Centuries of Fundamental Change," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(4), pages 167-190, Fall.
  3. Baker, Michael & Benjamin, Dwayne, 1999. "Early Retirement Provisions and the Labor Force Behavior of Older Men: Evidence from Canada," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(4), pages 724-56, October.
  4. Sarah Tanner, 1998. "The dynamics of male retirement behaviour," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 19(2), pages 175-196, May.
  5. M. Shannon & D. Grierson, 2004. "Mandatory retirement and older worker employment," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 37(3), pages 528-551, August.
  6. Emile Tompa, 1999. "Transitions to Retirement: Determinants of Age of Social Security Take Up," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 6, McMaster University.
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