NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Joint Retirement Decision of Husbands and Wives

Michael D. Hurd

NBER Working Paper No. 2803
Issued in December 1988
NBER Program(s):   AG

The objective of the paper is to find empirically whether husbands and wives tend to retire at the same time, and to give an explanation of the findings. Similarity of retirement dates could be caused by similarity of tastes (assortative mating), by economic variables, or by the complimentarity of leisure. Each explanation would have different implications for the response of retirement to policy changes. Both simple data analysis and economic models of the age of retirement point to coordination of retirement dates: husbands and wives tend to retire at the same time. According to the results, very little of the coordination is due to economic variables, and simple cross-tabulations rule out assortative mating as an important explanation. This leaves complimentarity of leisure. Because of data limitations, this conclusion is, however, mainly qualitative. The data set is the Mew Beneficiary Survey.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w2803

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