The Institutional Determinants of Early Retirement in Europe
Low fertility rates combined with increases in early retirement pose a serious challenge to the sustainability of social security systems in most industrialized countries. Therefore, it is important for policy makers to understand the determinants of early retirement and especially the role that institutional factors play in the retirement decision. However, analyzing such factors ideally requires international microdata, which have in the past been largely unavailable. To fill this void, this paper investigates early retirement determinants across several European countries using the rich 2005 SHARE (Survey of Health, Aging and Retirement in Europe) microdataset, which produces more precise estimates of the effects of institutional and economic factors like pension systems, unemployment, and employment protection legislation. The analysis shows that pension systems offering generous early retirement options encourage early departure from the labor market. In addition, pension wealth accrual rate exerts a greater influence on early retirement decisions than does the average replacement rate, while stricter employment protection legislation has no significant impact.
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