Worklife Determinants of Retirement Income Differentials between Men and Women

41 Pages Posted: 29 Apr 2000 Last revised: 5 May 2000

See all articles by Phillip B. Levine

Phillip B. Levine

Wellesley College; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Olivia S. Mitchell

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

John W. Phillips

University of Pennsylvania

Date Written: July 1999

Abstract

Women enter retirement having spent fewer years in market work, earned less over their lifetimes, and worked in different jobs than men of the same age. This study examines whether these differences in work-life experiences help explain why many women end up with lower levels of retirement income in old age. We use the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), which provides information on labor market histories along with the ability to predict retirement income from employer pensions, social security benefits, and investment returns. We document differences in anticipated retirement income by sex that exist largely between nonmarried men and women. Multivariate models show that 85 percent of this retirement income gap can be attributed to differences in lifetime labor market earnings, years worked, and occupational segregation by sex. Our results suggest that as women's work-life experiences become more congruent with men's over time, the gap in retirement income between men and women may shrink.

Suggested Citation

Levine, Phillip B. and Mitchell, Olivia S. and Phillips, John W., Worklife Determinants of Retirement Income Differentials between Men and Women (July 1999). NBER Working Paper No. w7243. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=202439

Phillip B. Levine

Wellesley College ( email )

106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02181
United States
781-283-2162 (Phone)
781-283-2177 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Olivia S. Mitchell (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104-6365
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

John W. Phillips

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

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