Économie et Statistique n° 357-358 - 2002 Employment - Social Transfers - Pensions - Industry - Environmental Goods Evaluation
Couples and retirement: are choices interdependent?
In most retirement choice models, the age at which pensions are collected is analysed as the result of an individual choice between consumption and leisure. It does not take into account the presence of a spouse. Yet a number of factors could generate an interdepen-dence of working decisions between two spouses :complementary leisure preferences (individuals may place greater value on their leisure when they share it with their spouse), potentially similar tastes between the two members of the household, and the family aspect of pension scales (especially with the existence of survivorship pensions). A number of complementary approaches to the interde-pendence of spouses' choices are considered. The descriptive analysis of couples' retirement patterns gives substance to the idea of a certain interdependence of spouses' choices, giving rise to an effort to synchronise retirement dates. However, the considerable penalisation of early retirement under the general scheme limits the scope of this effect, as shown by typical case simulations. The estimation of an econometric model shows that women incorporate their spouse's working situation into their retirement decision, whereas the men's behaviour appears to be less sensitive to their spouse's situation.