Structural models explaining retirement decisions of individuals or households in an inter-temporal setting are typically hard to estimate using data on actual retirement decisions, because choice sets are complicated and uncertain and for a large part unobserved by the researcher. This paper describes an experiment in which bothperceived retirement opportunities and preferences for retirement are measured. For the latter, respondents evaluate how attractive they find a number of hypothetical, simplified, retirement trajectories involving early retirement, late retirement, and gradual retirement, each with its own corresponding income path. The questions werefielded in the Dutch CentERpanel. The answers are used to estimate a stylized structural life-cycle model of retirement preferences. The results suggest that, for example, many respondents could be convinced to work part-time after age 65 before retiring completely at age 70 for a reasonable financial compensation. Simulationscombining the information on perceived opportunities with estimated preferences also illustrate the importance of employer imposed restrictions on retirement and the scope for increasing labor force participation of the elderly by creating opportunities forgradual retirement.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.

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