Relabeling, Retirement and Regret
Focal retirement ages are a central feature of Social Security programs around the world, and provide a potentially powerful tool for policy makers who are interested in reforming retirement systems to address the growing funding shortfalls. But these tools often come hand in hand with significant changes in the financial structure of Social Security that can have independent, and potentially deleterious, impacts on retirees. In this paper, we use a major reformulation of the retirement system in Finland, featuring a relabeling of retirement ages with modest and continuous changes in financial incentives allows us to separately estimate the impact of relabeling from financial incentives in driving retirement decisions. We find that relabeling is particularly powerful as a determinant of date of retirement. Both graphical evidence and estimated hazard models reveal an enormous change in retirement when individuals face a newly defined “normal retirement” age. We also present a new approach to assessing the welfare implications of induced earlier retirement: looking at the impact on return to work. We show that the marginal workers induced to retire by relabeling are much more likely to return to work over the next three years than is the typical worker. This suggests that there is a marginal increase in regret among those who respond to this change in retirement ages.
Jonathan Gruber & Ohto Kanninen & Terhi Ravaska, 2022. "Relabeling, retirement and regret," Journal of Public Economics, vol 211. citation courtesy of