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Early Retirement, Social Security and Well-Being in Germany

  • Axel Börsch-Supan

    ()

  • Hendrik Jürges

    ()

    (Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA))

Germans retire early. On the one hand, early retirement is very costly and amplifies the burden which the German public pension system has to carry due to population aging. On the other hand, however, early retirement is also seen as a much appreciated social achievement which increases the well-being especially of those workers who suffer from work-related health problems. This paper investigates the relation between early retirement and well-being using the GSOEP panel data. The general picture that emerges from our analysis is that early retirement as such seems to be related to subjective well-being, in fact more so than normal retirement. Early retirement most probably is a reaction to a health shock. Individuals are less happy in the year of early retirement than in the years before and after retirement. After retirement, individuals attain their pre-retirement satisfaction levels after a relatively short while. Hence, the early retirement effect on well-being appears to be negative and short-lived rather than positive and long. Whether this is an effect of retirement itself or a psychological adaptation to an underlying shock cannot be identified in our data and remains an open research issue waiting for a more objective measurement of health.

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Paper provided by Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy in its series MEA discussion paper series with number 07134.

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Date of creation: 03 Jul 2007
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Handle: RePEc:mea:meawpa:07134
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  1. Andrew E. Clark & Ed Diener & Yannis Georgellis & Richard E. Lucas, 2008. "Lags and Leads in Life Satisfaction: A Test of the Baseline Hypothesis," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 84, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  2. Axel Börsch-Supan & Barbara Berkel, 2004. "Pension Reform in Germany: The Impact on Retirement Decisions," MEA discussion paper series 04062, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  3. Jonathan Gruber & David A. Wise, 2002. "Social Security Programs and Retirement Around the World: Micro Estimation," NBER Working Papers 9407, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. James H. Stock & David A. Wise, 1990. "The Pension Inducement to Retire: An Option Value Analysis," NBER Chapters, in: Issues in the Economics of Aging, pages 205-230 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. William Greene, 2001. "Estimating Econometric Models With Fixed Effects," Working Papers 01-10, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  6. Lindeboom, Maarten & Portrait, France & van den Berg, Gerard J, 2001. "An Econometric Analysis of the Mental-Health Effects of Major Events in the Life of Elderly Individuals," CEPR Discussion Papers 3091, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Axel Börsch-Supan & Reinhold Schnabel & Simone Kohnz & Giovanni Mastrobuoni, 2004. "Micro-Modeling of Retirement Decisions in Germany," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Programs and Retirement around the World: Micro-Estimation, pages 285-344 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Kerwin Kofi Charles, 2002. "Is Retirement Depressing?: Labor Force Inactivity and Psychological Well-Being in Later Life," NBER Working Papers 9033, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Barbara Berkel & Axel Börsch-Supan, 2004. "Pension Reform in Germany: The Impact on Retirement Decisions," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 60(3), pages 393-, September.
  10. Winkelmann, Liliana & Winkelmann, Rainer, 1998. "Why Are the Unemployed So Unhappy? Evidence from Panel Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(257), pages 1-15, February.
  11. John Bound, 1991. "Self-Reported Versus Objective Measures of Health in Retirement Models," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(1), pages 106-138.
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