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The Joint Retirement Decision of Husbands and Wives


  • Michael D. Hurd


The objective of the paper is to find empirically whether husbands and wives tend to retire at the same time, and to give an explanation of the findings. Similarity of retirement dates could be caused by similarity of tastes (assortative mating), by economic variables, or by the complimentarity of leisure. Each explanation would have different implications for the response of retirement to policy changes. Both simple data analysis and economic models of the age of retirement point to coordination of retirement dates: husbands and wives tend to retire at the same time. According to the results, very little of the coordination is due to economic variables, and simple cross-tabulations rule out assortative mating as an important explanation. This leaves complimentarity of leisure. Because of data limitations, this conclusion is, however, mainly qualitative. The data set is the Mew Beneficiary Survey.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael D. Hurd, 1988. "The Joint Retirement Decision of Husbands and Wives," NBER Working Papers 2803, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2803
    Note: AG

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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. Gustman, Alan L & Steinmeier, Thomas L, 1986. "A Structural Retirement Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 555-584, May.
    3. Burtless, Gary & Moffitt, Robert A, 1985. "The Joint Choice of Retirement Age and Postretirement Hours of Work," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(2), pages 209-236, April.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Pozzebon, Silvana & Mitchell, Olivia S, 1989. "Married Women's Retirement Behavior," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 2(1), pages 39-53.
    7. Diamond, P. A. & Hausman, J. A., 1984. "Individual retirement and savings behavior," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1-2), pages 81-114.
    8. Sickles, Robin C & Taubman, Paul, 1986. "An Analysis of the Health and Retirement Status of the Elderly," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(6), pages 1339-1356, November.
    9. Marjorie Honig & Giora Hanoch, 1985. "Partial Retirement as a Separate Mode of Retirement Behavior," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 20(1), pages 21-46.
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