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Early Retirement, Social Security and Well-Being in Germany

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  • Axel Börsch-Supan
  • Hendrik Jürges

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Axel Börsch-Supan & Hendrik Jürges, 2006. "Early Retirement, Social Security and Well-Being in Germany," NBER Working Papers 12303, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12303
    Note: AG LS PE
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    1. Berkel, Barbara & Börsch-Supan, Axel, 2004. "Pension reform in Germany : the impact on retirement decisions," Papers 04-62, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.
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    Cited by:

    1. Elizabeth Horner, 2014. "Subjective Well-Being and Retirement: Analysis and Policy Recommendations," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 125-144, February.
    2. Montizaan, Raymond M. & Vendrik, Maarten C.M., 2014. "Misery Loves Company: Exogenous shocks in retirement expectations and social comparison effects on subjective well-being," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 1-26.
    3. Korthals Roxanne, 2012. "Selection and Tracking in Secondary Education; A cross country analysis of student performance and educational opportunities," Research Memorandum 050, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
    4. Zsuzsa Kapitany, 2009. "Non-employment, Ill-being and Subjective Well-being," IEHAS Discussion Papers 0922, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

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