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Social Security Programs and Retirement around the WorldMicro-Estimation$
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Jonathan Gruber and David A. Wise

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780226310183

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226309989.001.0001

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Pension Incentives and the Pattern of Retirement in the United Kingdom

Pension Incentives and the Pattern of Retirement in the United Kingdom

(p.643) 11 Pension Incentives and the Pattern of Retirement in the United Kingdom
Social Security Programs and Retirement around the World

Richard Blundell

Costas Meghir

Sarah Smith

University of Chicago Press

The United Kingdom has been experiencing a trend toward earlier labor market exits among older, particularly male, workers. The proportion of men aged sixty to sixty-four in employment halved from 1968, when 80 percent were employed, to only a little over 40 percent in 1996. Female employment has not experienced the same downward trend—but this contrasts with rising participation among most other age groups across the same period. This chapter looks at the extent to which these trends might be explained by the financial incentives in the pension system that people faced when making their retirement decisions. In doing so, it focuses not only on the pensions provided by the state, but also on employer-provided pensions and on other state benefits, such as invalidity benefit, all of which have played a crucial role in the United Kingdom. The results show that incentive and pension wealth measures managed to explain the most part of the large amount of early retirement that occurs prior to the normal retirement age. This appears to be due to a combination of the ability for invalidity benefit to act as an early retirement incentive and the significant incentives for early retirement that occur in occupational schemes in the United Kingdom.

Keywords:   retirement incentives, male workers, pension system, retirement behavior, state benefits, invalidity benefit

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