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Economic Incentives to Retire: A Qualitative Choice Approach

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  • Olivia S. Mitchell
  • Gary S. Fields

Abstract

This paper addresses two questions:(1) Are older persons' retirement ages significantly affected by the opportunities for income from earnings,private pensions, and Social Security and for leisure at alternative retirement ages?; and (2) How large are the estimated responses? Our approach to modeling the retirement problem is a forward-looking one, in which the explanatory variables include present discounted values of expected lifetime income from earnings, private pensions, and Social Security at all future retirement ages. Such data have been constructed using a unique archive on 390 workers covered by a large union pension plan. A previous paper (Fieldsand Mitchell, 1982) used these data to show that retirement ages are significantly associated with the present discounted value of income at age 60, and with the gain in income from deferring retirement. The current paper develops two different qualitative choice models of the retirement decision. We find: retirement ages do indeed respond significantly to future income and leisure opportunities; an ordered logit model is more suited to the data than is a multinomial logit model; and the estimated responses to changes in future income opportunities differ across model specifications, where the preferred ordered logit model exhibits larger estimated responses.

Suggested Citation

  • Olivia S. Mitchell & Gary S. Fields, 1983. "Economic Incentives to Retire: A Qualitative Choice Approach," NBER Working Papers 1096, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1096 Note: LS
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    1. Richard V. Burkhauser, 1979. "The Pension Acceptance Decision of Older Workers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(1), pages 63-75.
    2. J. A. Hausman & D. A. Wise, 1976. "A Conditional Profit Model for Qualitative Choice: Discrete Decisions Recognizing Interdependence and Heterogeneous Preferences," Working papers 173, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    3. Gary S. Fields & Olivia S. Mitchell, 1984. "Economic Determinants of the Optimal Retirement Age: An Empirical Investigation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 19(2), pages 245-262.
    4. Olivia S. Mitchell & Gary S. Fields, 1981. "The Effects of Pensions and Earnings on Retirement: A Review Essay," NBER Working Papers 0772, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. D. McFadden & J. Hausman, 1981. "Specification Tests for the Multinominal Logit Model," Working papers 292, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    6. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1984. "Partial Retirement and the Analysis of Retirement Behavior," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 37(3), pages 403-415, April.
    7. Hausman, Jerry & McFadden, Daniel, 1984. "Specification Tests for the Multinomial Logit Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(5), pages 1219-1240, September.
    8. Hausman, Jerry A & Wise, David A, 1978. "A Conditional Probit Model for Qualitative Choice: Discrete Decisions Recognizing Interdependence and Heterogeneous Preferences," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(2), pages 403-426, March.
    9. Daniel McFadden, 1977. "Modelling the Choice of Residential Location," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 477, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    10. Small, Kenneth A, 1982. "The Scheduling of Consumer Activities: Work Trips," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 467-479, June.
    11. Vincent P. Crawford & David M. Lilien, 1981. "Social Security and the Retirement Decision," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 96(3), pages 505-529.
    12. Edward P. Lazear, 1982. "Severance Pay, Pensions, and Efficient Mobility," NBER Working Papers 0854, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. 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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    Cited by:

    1. Mitchell, Olivia S & Fields, Gary S, 1984. "The Economics of Retirement Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(1), pages 84-105, January.
    2. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1983. "Social Security Reform and Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 1212, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Michael D. Hurd, 1990. "The Joint Retirement Decision of Husbands and Wives," NBER Chapters,in: Issues in the Economics of Aging, pages 231-258 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. repec:eee:labchp:v:1:y:1986:i:c:p:305-355 is not listed on IDEAS

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