Pensions, retirement, and the financial position of the elderly

This thesis collects five studies that are related to pensions, retirement and the financial position of the elderly. The five studies each aim to contribute to the understanding of pensions, retirement and the financial position of the elderly. The chapters in the thesis can be read independently.

Chapter 2 addresses the research question “Do shifts from public- to private pension provision lead to higher levels of income inequality or poverty among older people?” The chapter explains that private pension plans are generally less redistributive than public pension plans. Therefore, it is expected that the observed shifts from public- to private pension plans has led to higher levels of income inequality among the elderly.

To assess the financial well-being of the elderly, Chapter 3 focuses on the questions “Do Dutch households save adequately for retirement?” “Which pension components are important, and what are the vulnerable groups?” The chapter argues that it is important to assess the adequacy of pensions based on analyzing microdata which allows us to investigate the heterogeneity and taking into account the pension that people accumulate in the current system.

Chapter 4 proposes a new panel data sample selection estimator correcting for simultaneous decisions in participation and working hours decisions. Whereas prior panel data sample selection estimators only include a selection correction for work versus non-work (Dustmann and RochinaBarrachina 2007, Kyriazidou 1997, Rochina-Barrachina 1999, Semykina and Wooldridge 2010, 2011, Wooldridge 1995), we add additional information about part-time and full-time work.

Whereas Chapter 4 analyzes selection effects into part-time employment and full-time employment and the consequences for life-cycle wages, Chapter 5 focuses on the extent to which non-standard employment, such as part-time employment, may postpone early retirement. The research question that is dealt with in Chapter 5 is “Did the rise in non-standard employment, such as self-employment and part-time employment, contribute to the increased labor force participation observed among older workers across Europe?”

Chapter 6, on the other hand, does try to shed some light on the reasons of choosing non-standard employment, more specifically self-employment, at older ages by answering the question “Is there evidence for necessity-driven self-employment at the end of working life?” Self-employment is found to be relatively important among the 50+ population, compared to younger age groups (Hurd 1996, Karoly and Zissimopoulos 2004, Zissimopoulos and Karoly 2007).

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is een denktank en kennisnetwerk, gewijd aan het bevorderen van een beter begrip van de economische en sociale gevolgen van pensioenen, vergrijzing en ‘de oude dag’ in Nederland en Europa.

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