IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Retirement incentives, individual heterogeneity and labour transitions of employed and unemployed workers

  • J. Ignacio García Pérez


    (Department of Economics, Universidad Pablo Olavide, FCEA y FEDEA)

  • Sergi Jiménez Martín


    (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona GSE and FEDEA.)

  • Alfonso R. Sánchez Martín


    (Department of Economics, Universidad Pablo Olavide)

In this paper we analyze the sensitivity of the labour market decisions of workers close to retirement with respect to the incentives created by public regulations. We improve upon the extensive prior literature on the effect of pension incentives on retirement in two ways. First, by modeling the transitions between employment, unemployment and retirement in a simultaneous manner, paying special attention to the transition from unemployment to retirement (which is particularly important in Spain). Second, by considering the influence of unobserved heterogeneity in the estimation of the effect of our (carefully constructed) incentive variables. Using administrative data, we find that, when properly defined, economic incentives have a strong impact on labour market decisions in Spain. Unemployment regulations are shown to be particularly influential for retirement behaviour, along with the more traditional determinants linked to the pension system. Pension variables also have a major bearing on both workers’ reemployment decisions and on the strategic actions of employers. The quantitative impact of the incentives, however, is greatly affected by the existence of unobserved heterogeneity among workers. Its omission leads to sizable biases in the assessment of the sensitivity to economic incentives, a finding that has clear consequences for the credibility of any model-based policy analysis. We confirm the importance of this potential problem in one especially interesting instance: the reform of early retirement provisions undertaken in Spain in 2002. We use a difference-in-difference approach to measure the behavioural reaction to this change, finding a large overestimation when unobserved heterogeneity is not taken into account.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: First version, 2010
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 10.10.

in new window

Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pab:wpaper:10.10
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Carretera de Utrera km.1, 41013 Sevilla

Phone: + 34 954 34 8913
Fax: + 34 954 34 9339
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Jean-Olivier Hairault & François Langot & Thepthida Sopraseuth, 2008. "Quantifying the Laffer Curve on the Continued Activity Tax in a Dynastic Framework," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00178465, HAL.
  2. Jean-Olivier Hairault & Francois Langot & Thepthida Sopraseuth, 2010. "Distance to Retirement and Older Workers' Employment: The Case for Delaying the Retirement Age," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(5), pages 1034-1076, 09.
  3. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 2002. "The Social Security Early Entitlement Age in a Structural Model of Retirement and Wealth," NBER Working Papers 9183, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Belloni, Michele & Alessie, Rob, 2009. "The importance of financial incentives on retirement choices: New evidence for Italy," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(5), pages 578-588, October.
  5. Van den Berg, Gerard J., 2001. "Duration models: specification, identification and multiple durations," Handbook of Econometrics, in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 55, pages 3381-3460 Elsevier.
  6. Coile Courtney C & Levine Phillip B, 2011. "The Market Crash and Mass Layoffs: How the Current Economic Crisis May Affect Retirement," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-42, April.
  7. Michele Boldrin & Sergi Jiménez-Martín & Franco Peracchi, 2004. "Micro-Modeling of Retirement Behavior in Spain," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Programs and Retirement around the World: Micro-Estimation, pages 499-578 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Pedro Mira & Victor Aguirregabiria, 2007. "Dynamic Discrete Choice Structural Models: A Survey," Working Papers wp2007_0711, CEMFI.
  9. Hairault, Jean-Olivier & Langot, François & Ménard, Sébastien & Sopraseuth, Thepthida, 2011. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance for Older Workers," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 1107, CEPREMAP.
  10. Arellano, Manuel & Bentolila, Samuel & Bover, Olympia, 1998. "Unemployment Duration, Benefit Duration and the Business Cycle," CEPR Discussion Papers 1840, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Michele Belloni & Rob Alessie, 2008. "Retirement Choices: New Evidence for Italy," CeRP Working Papers 73, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
  12. Meyer, Bruce D, 1990. "Unemployment Insurance and Unemployment Spells," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(4), pages 757-82, July.
  13. Jean-Olivier Hairault & François Langot & Thepthida Sopraseuth, 2010. "Distance to Retirement and The Job Search of Older Workers: The Case For Delaying Retirement Age," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-00517107, HAL.
  14. Jiménez-Martín, Sergi & Labeaga, José M. & Martínez Granado, Maite, 1999. "Health status and retirement decisions for older European couples," IRISS Working Paper Series 1999-01, IRISS at CEPS/INSTEAD.
  15. Sergi Jiménez-Martín & Alfonso R. Sánchez Martín, 2007. "An evaluation of the life cycle effects of minimum pensions on retirement behavior," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(5), pages 923-950.
  16. Eric French, 2005. "The Effects of Health, Wealth, and Wages on Labour Supply and Retirement Behaviour," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(2), pages 395-427.
  17. Maia Güell & Barbara Petrongolo, 2003. "How binding are legal limits? Transitions from temporary to permanent work in Spain," Economics Working Papers 682, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jul 2005.
  18. J. Ignacio García Pérez & Alfonso R Sánchez Martín, 2008. "Social Security and the search behaviour of workers approaching retirement," Working Papers 08.03, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Department of Economics.
  19. repec:hal:pseose:halshs-00856144 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. Andrew A. Samwick, 1998. "New Evidence on Pensions, Social Security, and the Timing of Retirement," NBER Working Papers 6534, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Heckman, James & Singer, Burton, 1984. "A Method for Minimizing the Impact of Distributional Assumptions in Econometric Models for Duration Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 271-320, March.
  22. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00178465 is not listed on IDEAS
  23. Hurd, Michael D, 1989. "Mortality Risk and Bequests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 779-813, July.
  24. Sheshinski, Eytan, 1978. "A model of social security and retirement decisions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 337-360, December.
  25. Rust, J., 1994. "How Social Security and Medicare Affect Retirement Behavior in a World of Incomplete Markets," Working papers 9430, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  26. Bernard Casey & Howard Oxley & Edward R. Whitehouse & Pablo Antolín & Romain Duval & Willi Leibfritz, 2003. "Policies for an Ageing Society: Recent Measures and Areas for Further Reform," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 369, OECD Publishing.
  27. Coile, Courtney C. & Levine, Phillip B., 2007. "Labor market shocks and retirement: Do government programs matter?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(10), pages 1902-1919, November.
  28. Michele Boldrin & Sergi Jimenez-Martni & Franco Peracchi, 1997. "Social Security and Retirement in Spain," NBER Working Papers 6136, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Jaap H. Abbring & Gerard J. van den Berg, 2003. "The identifiability of the mixed proportional hazards competing risks model," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series B, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 65(3), pages 701-710.
  30. Jose Ignacio Garcia Perez, 1997. "Las tasas de salida del empleo y del desempleo en España (1978-1993)," Investigaciones Economicas, Fundación SEPI, vol. 21(1), pages 29-53, January.
  31. repec:hal:wpaper:hal-00668989 is not listed on IDEAS
  32. Jenkins, Stephen P, 1995. "Easy Estimation Methods for Discrete-Time Duration Models," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 57(1), pages 129-38, February.
  33. Peter Whiteford & Edward Whitehouse, 2006. "Pension Challenges and Pension Reforms in Oecd Countries," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(1), pages 78-94, Spring.
  34. Andrew Chesher & Tony Lancaster, 1983. "The Estimation of Models of Labour Market Behaviour," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(4), pages 609-624.
  35. repec:hal:cesptp:halshs-00856144 is not listed on IDEAS
  36. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-90, October.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pab:wpaper:10.10. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Publicación Digital - UPO)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.