Work and Retirement Plans Among Older Americans

Upjohn Institute Staff Working Paper No. 04-105

38 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2004

See all articles by Katharine G. Abraham

Katharine G. Abraham

University of Maryland - Joint Program in Survey Methodology and Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Susan N. Houseman

W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research

Date Written: July 2004

Abstract

We compare older workers' plans for work and retirement with their subsequent work and retirement outcomes using panel data from the Health and Retirement Study. Among those with retirement plans, about half indicate they would like to cut back on their work hours or otherwise change the type of work they do prior to, or instead of, fully retiring. Yet, the fraction that follows through on these alternative plans is dramatically lower than the fraction that realizes plans to stop working. Our analysis shows that individuals who likely would need to change jobs in order to reduce their work hours are much less likely to have plans to reduce hours and, conditional on having such plans, are much less likely to follow through on them. Instead, a large fraction of these individuals stop working entirely. Our findings suggest that older workers may face substantial barriers to job change, and we conclude with a discussion of potential policy implications.

Keywords: retirement, social security, older, workers, Houseman, Abraham

JEL Classification: J260, J220

Suggested Citation

Abraham, Katharine G. and Houseman, Susan N., Work and Retirement Plans Among Older Americans (July 2004). Upjohn Institute Staff Working Paper No. 04-105, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=596401 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.596401

Katharine G. Abraham

University of Maryland - Joint Program in Survey Methodology and Department of Economics ( email )

College Park, MD 20742
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Susan N. Houseman (Contact Author)

W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research ( email )

300 South Westnedge Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49007-4686
United States

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