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Retirement preferences before and after pension reform: Evidence from a Swedish natural experiment
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5332-889X
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This study examines the change of retirement preferences in the Swedish work force between 2002/2003 (t0) and 2010/2011 (t1). In 2003 a new pension system was introduced in Sweden. A central aim was to postpone retirement. Work incentives were strengthened by linking benefits more closely to the individual’s labour market participation. Also, older workers were given the right to work until age 67 which meant that age 65 was abandoned as the statutory age of retirement.

Drawing on cross-sectional data from the PSAE surveys in t0 and t1, the aim of the paper is to examine how retirement preferences developed between the time when the new system was about to be introduced and a time when it had been set in place. The study design has the character of a natural experiment. The main results show that there was substantial change in how retirement preferences were distributed in the two time-points.

In general, the 55–64 year-olds in t1 preferred to retire later than the same age group did in t0. The share of the older workforce which preferred to retire beyond 65 doubled and the increase was clustered around age 67. Most strikingly, this pattern applies to most sub-categories. Even those who reported poor health and poor work environment preferred to retire later in t1 than the corresponding category did in the preceding time-point. The results indicate that the strengthened work incentives and public campaigns to raise awareness of them have had a general impact on the older workforce in Sweden. The strong increase in age 67 as a preferred exit age indicates that the norm of suitable exit age is being delayed from 65 to 67.

Keyword [en]
Retirement Retirement preferences Pension reform Ageing
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-80804OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-80804DiVA: diva2:651597
Projects
Panel Survey of Ageing and the Elderly
Available from: 2013-09-26 Created: 2013-09-26 Last updated: 2013-09-26Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The long and winding road: A life course approach to retirement behaviour
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The long and winding road: A life course approach to retirement behaviour
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background: This thesis explores the retirement behaviour of older people approaching retirement decisions. The research questions in focus deal with the attitudes toward work, the retirement preferences and the subjective well-being of the "youngest old", i.e. people aged 55–64. The included studies analyse the social determinants of these subjective evaluations and how they predict the timing of retirement and post-retirement well-being.

Methods: In the included studies, methods are used that allow us to follow developments over time. Repeated cross-sectional analyses are employed to examine general developments pertaining to the older work force. These include OLS and logistic regression analysis. Longitudinal analyses are used to follow individual developments over time. These include Structural equation modelling and Cox regression analysis.

Results: The results indicate that subjective evaluations such as attitudes to work and retirement preferences, as well as subjective well-being, are closely related to the structural conditions to which individuals are exposed, i.e. class position and work environment. The results also indicate that subjective evaluations such as preferred exit age and subjective well-being reported while in the work force are determinants of both the timing of retirement (in the case of preferred exit age and pre-retirement subjective well-being) and post-retirement subjective well-being (in the case of pre-retirement subjective well-being).

Also, results indicate that recent policy changes in the Swedish pension systems are reflected in the retirement preferences of the older work force. A comparison of two time-points representing the incentive structure of the old and the new pension systems indicates that preferences were delayed with pension reform.

Conclusion: The thesis contributes a temporal perspective to a research field that is dominated by research studying retirement behaviour at a single point of in time. The included studies underline the value of understanding retirement behaviour as a process rather than an isolated event. The way people evaluate their work, their well-being and their retirement prospects is intimately intertwined with their earlier experience. These subjective evaluations affect future retirement outcomes. Life course approaches offer illuminating tools for examining and explaining the significance of the biographies behind retirement behaviour.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2013. 63 p.
Series
Akademiska avhandlingar vid Sociologiska institutionen, Umeå universitet, ISSN 1104-2508
Keyword
Retirement Ageing Life course Well-being Work
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-80798 (URN)978-91-7459-720-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-10-18, Humanisthuset hörsal E, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 13:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
Panel Survey of ageing and the elderly
Available from: 2013-09-27 Created: 2013-09-26 Last updated: 2013-09-26Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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