Postponing the retirement age and employment rate for seniors: the case of the 2010 pension reform

Yves Dubois et Malik Koubi, division Redistribution et politiques sociales, Insee

There have been four successive pension reforms in France since the beginning of the 1990s: in 1993, 2003, 2010 and 2014. From the middle of the 2000s, the employment rate for seniors has increased significantly after a long period of decline. It is difficult to identify the contribution of each of the reforms to this increase because their effects interact and are generally progressive. The 2010 reform was the exception as it was fast and constraining: it raised the pension eligibility age by two years, in increments of four then five months per year between the 1951 and 1955 generations. The conditions for its implementation were similar to a situation of “natural experience”, in the sense of evaluation methods. A comparison of the generations affected by the reform and those who immediately preceded them can be used to assess the causal effect, not only on the age when retirement is taken, but also on employment situations before retirement.

In fact, between the first generations concerned by the 2010 reform and those immediately before, the activity rate at 60 increased significantly: by 24 points for men and 22 points for women. Before the reform, the activity rate at 60 was 32% for men and 43% for women.

This rise in the activity rate at age 60 resulted mainly in an increase in employment. For the same category of people, the probability that they would have a job increased by 17 points for men and 16 points for women, and 3 and 7 points respectively for part-time employment. Unemployment also increased, however: by 7 points for men and 6 points for women. At the same time, inactivity outside retirement also increased slightly for men (+3 points).

The dominant effect of the reform in the short term is likely to be that it freezes the job situations people have reached as they are nearing 60 in the anticipation of the new pension entitlement age: it is mainly by extending the duration of employment for people still working when aged between 58 and 60 years old that the reform will be able to increase employment overall.

Publications for experts
Insee Analyses – No 30
Paru le : 01/05/2017