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Well-Being During The Transition From Work To Retirement


  • Lieze Sohiers


  • Luc Van Ootegem


  • Elsy Verhofstadt



We investigate the consequences of retirement from work for the overall well-being of individuals aged 50 and above. The overall well-being is approximated by two indicators: the life satisfaction indicator which is a cognitive reflection of the satisfaction with life and a multidimensional indicator about Control, Autonomy and Self-realizations (CAS). The latter indicator is related to the capabilities concept (specifically agency-freedom) of Sen (1985, 1999). It evaluates overall well-being by the level of agency or the ability of people to pursue the things they want to do and be the humans they want to be. Using the longitudinal Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), we find that employed and recently retired respondents have no different level of life satisfaction. Older workers do report a higher level of agency-freedom when they retire. This paper additionally investigates several forms of heterogeneities in the transition from work to retirement. We consider partial, early and joint retirement, part-time and self-employment, and job quality. We also investigate whether the extra leisure time of retired respondents affects well-being. We find that there is no difference in overall well-being between being partially and fully retired, between being retired before or after the normal retirement age or between those who retire simultaneously with their partner and those who don’t. However, for some older workers, such as those employed with a low quality job, retirement can be a relief from their current employment status. Retired respondents have more care duties which affects their well-being negatively. Charity work and sport activities affect well-being positively.

Suggested Citation

  • Lieze Sohiers & Luc Van Ootegem & Elsy Verhofstadt, 2019. "Well-Being During The Transition From Work To Retirement," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 19/957, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  • Handle: RePEc:rug:rugwps:19/957

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Elizabeth Horner, 2014. "Subjective Well-Being and Retirement: Analysis and Policy Recommendations," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 125-144, February.
    2. Sabina Alkire, 2005. "Why the Capability Approach?," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(1), pages 115-135.
    3. David Newman & Louis Tay & Ed Diener, 2014. "Leisure and Subjective Well-Being: A Model of Psychological Mechanisms as Mediating Factors," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 555-578, June.
    4. Martin Binder & Alex Coad, 2016. "How Satisfied are the Self-Employed? A Life Domain View," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 1409-1433, August.
    5. Marc Fleurbaey, 2006. "Capabilities, Functionings and Refined Functionings," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(3), pages 299-310.
    6. Coe, Norma B. & Zamarro, Gema, 2011. "Retirement effects on health in Europe," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 77-86, January.
    7. Marc Fleurbaey, 2006. "Capabilities, functionings and refined functionings," Post-Print hal-00246780, HAL.
    8. Mundlak, Yair, 1978. "On the Pooling of Time Series and Cross Section Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 69-85, January.
    9. Victoria Ateca-Amestoy & Arantza Ugidos, 2013. "The Impact of Different Types of Resource Transfers on Individual Wellbeing: An Analysis of Quality of Life Using CASP-12," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 110(3), pages 973-991, February.
    10. Tuyen Quang Tran & Cuong Viet Nguyen & Huong Vu, 2018. "Does Economic Inequality Affect the Quality of Life of Older People in Rural Vietnam?," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 19(3), pages 781-799, March.
    11. Börsch-Supan, Axel & Bucher-Koenen, Tabea & Kutlu Koc, Vesile & Goll, Nicolas, 2017. "Dangerous Flexibility – Retirement Reforms Reconsidered," MEA discussion paper series 201703, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
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    retirement; life satisfaction; agency; CASP; aging; well-being;

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