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Retirement Age across Countries: The Role of Occupations

  • Philip Ulrich Sauré
  • Hosny Zoabi

Cross-country variation in average retirement age is usually attributed to institutional differences that affect individuals' incentives to retire. We suggest a different approach. Since workers in different occupations naturally retire at different ages, the composition of occupations within an economy matters for its average retirement age. Using U.S. data we infer the average retirement age by occupation, which we then use to predict the retirement age of 38 countries according to the occupational composition of these countries. Our findings suggest that the differences in occupational composition explain up to 39.2% of the observed cross-country variation in retirement age.

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Paper provided by Swiss National Bank in its series Working Papers with number 2012-06.

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Length: 57 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:snb:snbwpa:2012-06
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  1. Galor, Oded, 2004. "The Demographic Transition and the Emergence of Sustained Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 4714, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Ebenstein, Avraham & Harrison, Ann & McMillan, Margaret & Phillips, Shannon, 2011. "Estimating the impact of trade and offshoring on American workers using the current population surveys," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5750, The World Bank.
  3. Steven G. Allen, 1996. "Technology and the Wage Structure," NBER Working Papers 5534, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Filer, Randall K & Petri, Peter A, 1988. "A Job-Characteristics Theory of Retirement," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(1), pages 123-29, February.
  8. repec:att:wimass:9430 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Jonathan Gruber & David A. Wise, 1999. "Introduction to "Social Security and Retirement around the World"," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security and Retirement around the World, pages 1-35 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Burtless, Gary, 1986. "Social Security, Unanticipated Benefit Increases, and the Timing of Retirement," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(5), pages 781-805, October.
  11. John Rust & Christopher Phelan, 1994. "How Social Security and Medicare Affect Retirement Behavior in a World of Incomplete Markets," Public Economics 9406005, EconWPA, revised 06 Jul 1994.
  12. Roger, Muriel & Aubert, Patrick & Caroli, Eve, 2006. "New technologies, organisation and age: firm-level evidence," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/10051, Paris Dauphine University.
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