Elliott Ash, 03 July 2021

Faced with extreme old age and even dementia among its judges, some US states have imposed a mandatory retirement age. But this policy may remove experienced judges who are still productive in their jobs. This column examines the overall effect of mandatory retirement on court productivity in US states during 1947–1994 and finds that court productivity increased by more than 25% after the introduction of mandatory retirement. There may even be a team effect of ageing whereby the presence of older judges slows down the pace of work in the court.

Rafael Lalive, Arvind Magesan, Stefan Staubli, 12 January 2021

Policymakers have used a variety of tools to preserve the solvency of social security systems. The life-cycle model of behaviour predicts that financial incentives will shape people’s decisions on when to claim their pensions and when to retire but this is debatable. This column examines a reform to women’s pensions in Switzerland to understand how people respond to different policy instruments. Most people do not claim their pension benefits at the age that the standard model of behaviour would predict. Instead, individuals are influenced by the full retirement age (which they consider ‘natural’) and the fear of losing benefits by claiming early.

Jonathan Gruber, Ohto Kanninen, Terhi Ravaska, 22 November 2020

Fiscal sustainability challenges have prompted governments to restructure public pension systems, including the focal retirement ages. This column shows that relabelling ‘early’ and ‘normal’ retirement ages in a 2005 reform in Finland changed people’s retirement rate. Such relabelling allows policymakers to shape retirement behaviour with little fiscal cost. However, there is a marginal increase in regret among those who responded to the change in retirement ages, suggesting a potential source of welfare loss from inducing excess retirement.

Heikki Oksanen, 20 July 2020

One of the many reasons for slow progress with reforming the euro has been a lack of understanding of the links between the fiscal and monetary domains. This column argues that the Covid-19 shock necessitates a significant extension of the time horizon for fiscal policy.  Sound public finances means long-term sustainability of government finances, which is required for refunding public debt at acceptable interest rates. Bonds issued by the solvent governments are needed for the operations of the Eurosystem in setting the monetary stance and in acting as the lender of last resort for euro area governments, which is necessary for preventing liquidity shortages from developing into a general financial crisis.

Haiyue Yu, Jin Cao, Shulong Kang, 13 December 2018

In a country where grandparents provide a significant amount of childcare, China’s plans to gradually delay retirement over the next few decades may significantly impact the labour supply and lifetime earnings of young women. Using the China Family Panel Studies survey data, this column demonstrates that the provision of grandparental childcare affects females’ income, in particular better-educated, urban females with younger children. An increase in public childcare subsidies may be required to complement the phasing-in of the retirement policy in China.

Hervé Boulhol, Christian Geppert, 04 June 2018

As we live longer, the associated rise in the old-age dependency ratio puts pressure on pension systems and perhaps our standard of living. The column argues that, on average in the OECD, stabilising the old-age dependency ratio between 2015 and 2050 requires an increase in retirement age of a stunning 8.4 years. This number far exceeds the projected increase in longevity and increases in retirement age driven by pension reforms alone.

James Banks, Carl Emmerson, Gemma Tetlow, 07 May 2016

Many countries are increasing the age at which people can start claiming state-funded pensions. One objection often raised is that such policies are unfair because some will be too unhealthy to remain in paid work. This column compares employment rates in England of older people today to those of earlier generations, and also to those of younger people today. These comparisons suggest that a significant minority of older people appear to be unable to work on the grounds of health alone. 

Philip Sauré, Hosny Zoabi, 19 November 2011

In Mexico, the average male worker retires at 75. In Bulgaria, he does so at 58. This column argues that an economy’s composition of occupations matters for its average effective retirement age as the nature of different occupations leads workers to retire at different ages. It suggests the differences in occupational composition explain up to 40% of the observed cross-country variation in retirement age.

Andrea Ichino, Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, Josef Zweimüller, Guido Schwerdt, 08 November 2007

Raising the retirement age is one of the standard solutions for Europe’s aging problem. But won’t this only increase their unemployment rate? New empirical evidence suggests that increasing the retirement age is unlikely to produce a band of workers who are too old to work but too young to retire.

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