DP855 | Retirement of Spouses and Social Security Reform

Publication Date

31/01/1994

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Abstract

The retirement decisions of spouses may be interdependent for various reasons: similarity of tastes, joint assets, sharing rules for income and housework, or complementarity of leisure. Because of data limitations, only a few empirical studies exist on this topic. From a policy point of view interdependent retirement could become important if legislators in different EC countries are forced to synchronize minimum retirement ages, which are lower now for females than males in a number of countries. In the theoretical part, the reaction of spouses to changes in the retirement age of their partners is analysed for typical family patterns. In the empirical part, the possibility of interdependent retirement is studied for Austrian data. The findings show an asymmetry: husbands react to changes in wives' legal minimum retirement age, wives don't react vice versa. The cross effect on men's participation rates -- resulting from a rise in women's minimum retirement age --is almost half as big as the first-round effect upon the women themselves.