Parental Survival and Retirement Timing in the Swedish Population
preprintposted on 16.11.2017, 17:19 by Linda Kridahl, Merril Silverstein
Abstract: Workforces are aging in most developed countries. At the same time, the parents of workers nearing retirement age are more likely to still be alive and in need of care. This study investigated the association between the survival of parents and retirement timing in Sweden. Data was derived from Swedish population registers for men and women born in 1940-1945. Discrete-time survival analysis using complementary log-log functions was employed. The study finds evidence that parental survival was positively linked to retirement timing and that the association was stronger and more consistent for women than for men, particularly for women with only a mother or father alive. Additionally, women had a higher risk of retirement in the immediate period after parental death, especially when the father was widowed. In contrast, men had a higher risk of retiring when either the mother or father had been widowed for some years. Moreover, siblings seem to moderate the effect of retirement, and the pattern was most noticeable among women. Overall, the risk of retirement was greater among individuals without siblings, with both parents alive, or with only a mother or father alive. The findings indicate that individuals with parents who were vulnerable due to widowhood were able to work longer when they were from larger families, a finding consistent with a caregiving explanation. That the relationship was more evident among women provides support for the conclusion that care provision for parents motivates labor force disengagement in the form of retirement.