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Partial Retirement and the Analysis of Retirement Behavior


  • Alan L. Gustman
  • Thomas L. Steinmeier


This paper examines the phenomenon of partial retirement . Topics covered include: (1) the quantitative importance of partial retirement, (2) institutional constraints in addition to mandatory retirement which limit the opportunity to retire partially in the main job, (3) the effect of these constraints on the specification of the relevant structural equations in a life cycle retirement model, (4) the impact of standard explanatory variables on four outcomes -- complete retirement, partial retirement both in and outside the main job, and non-retirement, (5) the importance of partial retirement even for those who do not face mandatory retirement, are not covered by a pension and are healthy, (6) the sensitivity of results based on a dichotomous retirement variable to whether the partially retired are classified as retired or not retired. A number of studies have either treated partial retirement inappropriately or have adopted unrealistic assumptions about the opportunity set facing potential retirees. Our findings call their results into question.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1981. "Partial Retirement and the Analysis of Retirement Behavior," NBER Working Papers 0763, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0763
    Note: LS

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Boskin, Michael J. & Hurd, Michael D., 1978. "The effect of social security on early retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 361-377, December.
    2. Deardorff, Alan V & Stafford, Frank P, 1976. "Compensation of Cooperating Factors," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(4), pages 671-684, July.
    3. Roger H. Gordon & Alan S. Blinder, 1980. "Market wages, reservation wages, and retirement decisions," NBER Chapters,in: Econometric Studies in Public Finance, pages 277-308 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Parsons, Donald O, 1982. "The Male Labour Force Participation Decision: Health, Reported Health, and Economic Incentives," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 49(193), pages 81-91, February.
    5. Rosen, Harvey S, 1976. "Taxes in a Labor Supply Model with Joint Wage-Hours Determination," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(3), pages 485-507, May.
    6. John B. Burbidge & A. Leslie Robb, 1980. "Pensions and Retirement Behaviour," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 13(3), pages 421-437, August.
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