Joint Retirement of Couples: Evidence from Discontinuities in Denmark

57 Pages Posted: 17 Mar 2021 Last revised: 28 Jul 2021

Date Written: February 3, 2021


We study how social security influences the retirement behavior of couples. First, we exploit over two decades of full-population data and a discontinuity design to document sizable retirement spillovers to spouses when individuals reach pension eligibility age. Next, we explore underlying mechanisms. We find age differences within couples to be a fundamental determinant of joint retirement, which is driven by older spouses working longer. Accounting for these age differences reveals a strong gender gap, which prevails after controlling for relative earnings. Finally, in a complementary analysis we show that a reform increasing eligibility ages induces similar spillovers to spouses.

Keywords: joint retirement, pension eligibility age, couples labor supply

JEL Classification: J26, H55, D10

Suggested Citation

García-Miralles, Esteban and Leganza, Jonathan M., Joint Retirement of Couples: Evidence from Discontinuities in Denmark (February 3, 2021). Available at SSRN: or

Esteban García-Miralles (Contact Author)

Banco de España ( email )

Alcala 50
Madrid 28014

Jonathan M. Leganza

Clemson University ( email )

101 Sikes Ave
Clemson, SC 29634
United States

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