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The Retirement Decision in OECD Countries


  • Sveinbjörn Blöndal
  • Stefano Scarpetta


This paper examines the main determinants of the decision to retire from the labour market in OECD countries, and in particular the role of social security systems in driving down the labour-force participation rate of older people in recent decades. It demonstrates that old-age pension systems in virtually all OECD countries in the mid-1990s made it financially unattractive to work after the age of 55, and the implicit tax on continued work has risen strongly since the 1960s in most countries. Financial disincentives to continued work have been amplified by various de facto early-retirement programmes, including unemployment-related and disability schemes. Pooled cross-country time-series regressions show that increased disincentives to work at older ages have contributed significantly to the drop in labour-force participation rates of older males, but also demonstrate that the deterioration of labourmarket conditions in many countries has played a significant role as well ... Cet article examine les principaux déterminants de la décision de quitter le marché du travail, dans certains pays de l’OCDE, et en particulier le rôle des systèmes de sécurité sociale dans la diminution du taux d’activité des personnes âgées dans les dernières décennies. Il démontre que dans quasiment tous les pays de l’OCDE au milieu des années 90, les systèmes d’assurance-vieillesse ont rendu financièrement peu attrayant le fait de travailler après 55 ans, et que l’impôt implicite sur la poursuite de l’activité a fortement crû depuis les années 60 dans la plupart des pays. Les contre-incitations financières à la poursuite du travail ont été amplifiés par divers programmes de retraite anticipée, parmi lesquels des systèmes liés au chômage et à l’invalidité. Les régressions des séries chronologiques transversals regroupées montrent que des contre-incitations accrues à travailler à un âge tardif ont significativement contribué à la baisse du taux d’activité des hommes âgés, mais ...

Suggested Citation

  • Sveinbjörn Blöndal & Stefano Scarpetta, 1999. "The Retirement Decision in OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 202, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:202-en
    DOI: 10.1787/565174210530

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