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Life-Cycle Models: Lifetime Earnings and the Timing of Retirement

  • John Laitner

    (University of Michigan)

  • Dan Silverman

    (University of Michigan)

After dropping for a century, the average retirement age for U.S. males seems to have leveled off in recent decades. An important question is whether as future improvements in technology cause wages to rise, desired retirement ages will resume their downward trend, or not. This paper attempts to use HRS panel data to test how relatively high (or low) earnings affect male retirement ages. Our goal is to use cross-sectional earning differences to help anticipate likely time-series developments in coming decades. Our preliminary regression results show that higher earnings do lead to somewhat earlier retirement. Unless additional analysis changes the parameter estimates, the implication is that the downward trend in male retirement ages will ultimately return.

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Paper provided by University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center in its series Working Papers with number wp165.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp165
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  1. 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.
  2. Charles Brown, 2003. "Early Retirement Windows," Working Papers wp064, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  3. Nicole Maestas, 2004. "Back to Work: Expectations and Realizations of Work After Retirement," Working Papers wp085, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  4. Michael Hurd & Susann Rohwedder, 2005. "The Retirement-Consumption Puzzle: Anticipated and Actual Declines in Spending at Retirement," Working Papers 242, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  5. John Laitner & Dan Silverman, 2005. "Estimating Life—Cycle Parameters from Consumption Behavior at Retirement”," Working Papers wp099, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  6. repec:att:wimass:9430 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Eric French, 2004. "The Effects of Health, Wealth and Wages on Labor Supply and Retirement Behavior," 2004 Meeting Papers 96, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. John Rust & Christopher Phelan, 1997. "How Social Security and Medicare Affect Retirement Behavior in a World of Incomplete Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(4), pages 781-832, July.
  9. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2005. "Why Not Retire? The Time and Timing Costs of Market Work," Working Papers wp104, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  10. King, Robert G. & Plosser, Charles I. & Rebelo, Sergio T., 1988. "Production, growth and business cycles : I. The basic neoclassical model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 195-232.
  11. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2004. "Consumption vs. Expenditure," NBER Working Papers 10307, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1983. "A Structural Retirement Model," NBER Working Papers 1237, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. David Altig, 2001. "Simulating Fundamental Tax Reform in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 574-595, June.
  14. Gustman, Alan L & Steinmeier, Thomas L, 2000. "Retirement in Dual-Career Families: A Structural Model," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(3), pages 503-45, July.
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