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Early Retirement Windows

  • Charles Brown

An early retirement window is an offer, by an employer, of a special incentive to retire at a particular time, beyond that provided by the firm's pension plan. While such windows have attracted increasing attention in the academic literature and the business press, most of our current knowledge about them is based on case studies or compensation consultants' surveys of their clients. The Health and Retirement Study provides an opportunity to analyze the incidence and consequences of such offers among a representative sample of workers who are in the age range (51-61 in 1992) where such windows may be important. HRS data suggest that window offers increased in the early 1990s. At their peak in the mid- 1990s, employers were making about 5 offers per 100 workers age 55-59. One third of the offers were accepted. The economic impact of window offers depends on the extent to which those who accept such offers would have left the employer soon anyway, and those who are induced to leave one employer go to work elsewhere. But multiplying the frequency of such offers by the acceptance rate suggests a substantial potential impact on the employment of workers in the HRS age range. Window offers are generally made to workers in "career" jobs. Such workers have aboveaverage education, tenure with employer, and earnings. The attachment between the employer and such workers is often strengthened by defined-benefit pension plans, which discourage leaving before the early-retirement age of the pension plan but often also provide sharp incentives to leave "on time". Workers who received window offers were closer to early retirement age (as defined by their pension plan), and were expecting to retire sooner than other workers. Thus, one might expect that those who receive window offers would have retired earlier than other workers, even without the special window incentive. On the other hand, those receiving window offers are better paid and in better health than t

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Paper provided by Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania in its series Pension Research Council Working Papers with number 98-17.

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Publication status: Published in Forecasting Retirement Needs and Retirement Wealth. 2000: 253-273.
Handle: RePEc:wop:pennpr:98-17
Contact details of provider: Postal: The Wharton School, 3641 Locust Walk, 304 CPC, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6218
Phone: 215-898-7620
Fax: 215-898-0310
Web page: http://www.pensionresearchcouncil.org/
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  1. Charles Brown, . "Early Retirement Windows," Pension Research Council Working Papers 98-17, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
  2. Robin L. Lumsdaine & James H. Stock & David A. Wise, 1990. "Efficient Windows and Labor Force Reduction," NBER Working Papers 3369, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Alan L. Gustman & Olivia S. Mitchell & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1993. "The Role of Pensions in the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 4295, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Jeanne M. Hogarth, 1988. "Accepting an Early Retirement Bonus an Empirical Study," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 23(1), pages 21-33.
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