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Bulls, Bears, and Retirement Behavior

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  • Courtney C. Coile
  • Phillip B. Levine

Abstract

The historic boom and bust in the stock market over the past decade had the potential to significantly alter the retirement behavior of older workers. Previous research examining the impact of wealth shocks on labor supply supports the plausibility of this hypothesis. In this paper, we examine the relationship between stock market performance and retirement behavior using the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), Current Population Survey (CPS), and Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF). We first present a descriptive analysis of the wealth holdings of older households and simulate the labor supply response among stockholders necessary to generate observed patterns in retirement. We show that few households have substantial stock holdings and that they would have to be extremely responsive to market fluctuations to explain observed labor force patterns. We then exploit the unique pattern of boom and bust along with variation in stock exposure to generate a double quasi-experiment, comparing the retirement and labor force re-entry patterns over time of those more and less exposed to the market. Any difference in behavior that emerged during the boom should have reversed itself during the bust. We find no evidence that changes in the stock market drive aggregate trends in labor supply.

Suggested Citation

  • Courtney C. Coile & Phillip B. Levine, 2004. "Bulls, Bears, and Retirement Behavior," NBER Working Papers 10779, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10779
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Daniel Hallberg, 2011. "Economic Fluctuations and Retirement of Older Employees," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 25(3), pages 287-307, September.
    2. Fougère, Maxime & Harvey, Simon & Mercenier, Jean & Mérette, Marcel, 2009. "Population ageing, time allocation and human capital: A general equilibrium analysis for Canada," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 30-39, January.
    3. Courtney C. Coile & Phillip B. Levine, 2007. "Labor Market Shocks and Retirement: Do Government Programs Matter?," NBER Chapters,in: Public Policy and Retirement, Trans-Atlantic Public Economics Seminar (TAPES), pages 1902-1919 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Barbara Broadway & John P. Haisken-DeNew, 2014. "The Importance of Economic Expectations for Retirement Entry," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2014n28, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    5. Mastrobuoni, Giovanni, 2009. "Labor supply effects of the recent social security benefit cuts: Empirical estimates using cohort discontinuities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(11-12), pages 1224-1233, December.
    6. Alicia H. Munnell & Steven A. Sass, 2007. "The Labor Supply of Older Americans," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2007-12, Center for Retirement Research, revised Jun 2007.
    7. Hairault, Jean-Olivier & Langot, François & Zylberberg, André, 2015. "Equilibrium unemployment and retirement," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 37-58.
    8. Lingxiao Zhao & Gregory Burge, 2017. "Housing Wealth, Property Taxes, and Labor Supply among the Elderly," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(1), pages 227-263.
    9. Ricky Kanabar, 2012. "Unretirement in England: An empirical perspective," Discussion Papers 12/31, Department of Economics, University of York.
    10. Coile Courtney C & Levine Phillip B, 2011. "The Market Crash and Mass Layoffs: How the Current Economic Crisis May Affect Retirement," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-42, April.
    11. Gustafson, Matthew T., 2017. "The market sensitivity of retirement and defined contribution pensions: Evidence from the public sector," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 1-13.
    12. Jeffrey R. Brown & Courtney C. Coile & Scott J. Weisbenner, 2010. "The Effect of Inheritance Receipt on Retirement," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(2), pages 425-434, May.
    13. Kevin E. Cahill & Michael D. Giandrea & Joseph F. Quinn, 2006. "A Micro-level Analysis of Recent Increases in Labor Force Participation among Older Workers," Working Papers 400, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
    14. Michael D. Hurd & Monika Reti & Susann Rohwedder, 2009. "The Effect of Large Capital Gains or Losses on Retirement," NBER Chapters,in: Developments in the Economics of Aging, pages 127-163 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Courtney C. Coile, 2015. "Economic Determinants Of Workers’ Retirement Decisions," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(4), pages 830-853, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies

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