Retirement Decisions of Couples: The Impact of Spousal Characteristics and Preferences on the Timing of Retirement
Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 41/13
This paper provides new evidence of coordination of retirement by mature age couples in Australia. Two complementary estimation approaches are used to highlight the importance of taking the household decision-making context into account when modeling the retirement behaviour of partnered men and women. First, a single risk hazard model provides insights into the influences of a spouse’s characteristics on the retirement decision of the individual. Second, a competing-risks framework is used to examine the retirement behaviour of couples exiting from a situation in which both are in paid employment. There is strong evidence of coordination of retirement by mature age couples in Australia due to complementarities in leisure and, for women, because of caring responsibilities. In particular, the results suggest that women may delay their own retirement if their partner has a financial incentive to continue in the labour force; or retire early to care for a partner who is in poor health.