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What Makes Retirees Happier: A Gradual or 'Cold Turkey' Retirement?

  • Calvo, Esteban
  • Haverstick, Kelly
  • Sass, Steven

This study explores the factors that affect an individual’s happiness while transitioning into retirement. Recent studies highlight gradual retirement as an attractive option to older workers as they approach full retirement. However, it is not clear whether phasing or cold turkey makes for a happier retirement. Using longitudinal data from the Health and Retirement Study, this study explores what shapes the change in happiness between the last wave of full employment and the first wave of full retirement. Results suggest that what really matters is not the type of transition (gradual retirement or cold turkey), but whether people perceive the transition as chosen or forced.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 5607.

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Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:5607
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  1. Richard Easterlin, 2001. "Life Cycle Welfare: Trends and Differences," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 1-12, March.
  2. Rafael Di Tella & Robert MacCulloch, 2006. "Some Uses of Happiness Data in Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 25-46, Winter.
  3. Kelly M. Everard & Helen W. Lach & Edwin B. Fisher & M. Carolyn Baum, 2000. "Relationship of Activity and Social Support to the Functional Health of Older Adults," Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Gerontological Society of America, vol. 55(4), pages S208-S212.
  4. 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.
  5. Ruhm, Christopher J, 1990. "Bridge Jobs and Partial Retirement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(4), pages 482-501, October.
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  7. Daniel Kahneman & Alan B. Krueger, 2006. "Developments in the Measurement of Subjective Well-Being," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 3-24, Winter.
  8. Alex Michalos, 1985. "Multiple discrepancies theory (MDT)," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 347-413, May.
  9. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas Steinmeier, 2007. "Projecting Behavioral Responses to the Next Generation of Retirement Policies," NBER Working Papers 12958, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  11. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2002. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 402-435, June.
  12. Sheung-Tak Cheng & Alfred C. M. Chan, 2006. "Relationship With Others and Life Satisfaction in Later Life: Do Gender and Widowhood Make a Difference?," Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Gerontological Society of America, vol. 61(1), pages P46-P53.
  13. Robert Hutchens, 2007. "Phased Retirement: Problems and Prospects," Work Opportunity Briefs wob_8, Center for Retirement Research, revised Feb 2007.
  14. Susann Rohwedder, 2006. "Self-Assessed Retirement Outcomes: Determinants and Pathways," Working Papers wp141, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  15. Willem Saris, 2001. "The Relationship between Income and Satisfaction: The Effect of Measurement Error and Suppressor Variables," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 53(2), pages 117-136, February.
  16. Karl-Siegbert Rehberg, 2000. "The Fear of Happiness Anthropological Motives," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 1(4), pages 479-500, December.
  17. Patrick Royston, 2004. "Multiple imputation of missing values," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 4(3), pages 227-241, September.
  18. Calvo, Esteban, 2006. "Does Working Longer Make People Healthier and Happier?," MPRA Paper 5606, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  19. Ed Diener & Robert Biswas-Diener, 2002. "Will Money Increase Subjective Well-Being?," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 57(2), pages 119-169, February.
  20. 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.
  21. Keith A. Bender, 2004. "The Well-Being of Retirees: Evidence Using Subjective Data," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2004-24, Center for Retirement Research.
  22. Y. Chan & Rance Lee, 2006. "Network Size, Social Support and Happiness in Later Life: A Comparative Study of Beijing and Hong Kong," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 87-112, 03.
  23. Constantijn W.A. Panis, 2003. "Annuities and Retirement Satisfaction," Working Papers 03-17, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
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