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Retirement Outcomes in the Health and Retirement Study

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  • Alan L. Gustman
  • Thomas L. Steinmeier

Abstract

This study examines retirement outcomes in the first four waves of the Health and Retirement Study. Measured retirement is seen to differ, sometimes substantially, with the definition of retirement used and among various groups analyzed. Moreover, these differences vary with the wave of the survey as respondents age. Retirement is comprised of a complex set of flows among states representing full time work, partial retirement and complete retirement. Seventy seven percent of transitions continue in the same or equivalent states between adjoining waves of the HRS; 17 percent involve a move from greater to lesser labor force participation, and 6 percent involve a move from states of lesser to greater labor force participation. Twenty two percent of the sample report they were partially retired at some time in the first four waves, and by age 65, over a fifth of the population is partially retired. Altogether, 14 percent of the sample experienced a reversal in the course of the survey, moving from a state of less work to a state of more work. Comparing retirement flows for men between the HRS and the 1969-1979 Retirement History Study, the large spike in the population leaving full time work at age 65 observed in the RHS is reduced to half its original size in the HRS, while the share leaving full time work at age 62 has almost doubled over time. The results presented here should help researchers to improve their understanding of the structure of the dependent variable in retirement studies.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 2000. "Retirement Outcomes in the Health and Retirement Study," NBER Working Papers 7588, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7588
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alan Gustman & Olivia S. Mitchell & Thomas L. Steinmeier, "undated". "Retirement Measures in the Health and Retirement Survey," Pension Research Council Working Papers 94-2, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gorodnichenko, Yuriy & Song, Jae & Stolyarov, Dmitriy, 2013. "Macroeconomic Determinants of Retirement Timing," IZA Discussion Papers 7744, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Nicole Maestas & Julie Zissimopoulos, 2009. "How Longer Work Lives Ease the Crunch of Population Aging," Working Papers WR-728, RAND Corporation.
    3. Giles, John T. & Wang, Dewen & Cai, Wei, 2011. "The Labor Supply and Retirement Behavior of China's Older Workers and Elderly in Comparative Perspective," IZA Discussion Papers 6088, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Avner Ahituv & Joseph Zeira, 2011. "Technical Progress and Early Retirement," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(551), pages 171-193, March.
    5. Jürgen Maurer & Roger Klein & Francis Vella, 2011. "Subjective Health Assessments and Active Labor Market Participation of Older Men: Evidence from a Semiparametric Binary Choice Model with Nonadditive Correlated Individual-specific Effects," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(3), pages 764-774, August.
    6. Philip Trostel & Ian Walker, 2006. "Education and Work," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(4), pages 377-399.
    7. Esteban Calvo & Kelly Haverstick & Steven A. Sass, 2007. "What Makes Retirees Happier: A Gradual or 'Cold Turkey' Retirement?," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2007-18, Center for Retirement Research, revised Oct 2007.
    8. Andrew Au & Olivia S. Mitchell & John W.R. Phillips, 2005. "Saving Shortfalls and Delayed Retirement," Working Papers wp094, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    9. Julia Lynn Coronado & Maria Perozek, 2003. "Wealth effects and the consumption of leisure: retirement decisions during the stock market boom of the 1900s," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-20, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    10. Ross Stolzenberg, 2011. "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night: The Effect of Retirement on Subsequent Mortality of U.S. Supreme Court Justices, 1801–2006," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 48(4), pages 1317-1346, November.
    11. David E. Bloom & David Canning & Michael Moore & Younghwan Song, 2007. "The Effect of Subjective Survival Probabilities on Retirement and Wealth in the United States," Chapters,in: Population Aging, Intergenerational Transfers and the Macroeconomy, chapter 4 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    12. Lorenzo Burlon & Montserrat Vilalta-Bufí, 2016. "A new look at technical progress and early retirement," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-39, December.
    13. Kevin Neuman, 2008. "Quit Your Job and Get Healthier? The Effect of Retirement on Health," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 177-201, June.
    14. Lorenzo Burlon & Montserrat Vilalta-Buf�, 2014. "Technical progress, retraining cost and early retirement," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 963, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    15. Chen Song & Louis Nguyen, 2003. "The Effect of Hernias on the Labor Force Participation of Union Army Veterans," NBER Chapters,in: Health and Labor Force Participation over the Life Cycle: Evidence from the Past, pages 253-310 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Jeff Borland, 2005. "Transitions to Retirement: A Review," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2005n03, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    17. Mark E. Votruba, 2003. "Social Security and Retirees' Decision to Work," Working Papers 853, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination

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