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Time for Retirement: Studies on how leisure and family associate with retirement timing in Sweden
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. (Demografiska avdelningen)
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Retirement transition is a major life event in later adult life. Its timing is important for older individuals for economic, personal and family reasons, as well as for aging societies contemplating a comprehensive plan for population changes, including sustainability of the labor force, pension system, and welfare services such as eldercare. This thesis explores retirement timing in contemporary Sweden, which serves as an interesting case study because of its aging population, high labor force participation of men and women, universal pension system and generous welfare services. The overarching aim of the thesis is to investigate how relationships in the private sphere associate with retirement timing by focusing on leisure engagement, family relations and intergenerational ties.

The thesis consists of an introductory chapter and four empirical studies. The purpose of the introductory chapter is to place the four studies in context by focusing on the Swedish population structure, labor force participation and pension system and by highlighting some of the central theories and empirical findings related to retirement transition.

Study I addresses leisure engagement before retirement and retirement timing, and how engagement in leisure changes after retirement. The study finds that retirement timing varies by both the type of preretirement activity domain and the level of engagement. For instance, occasional or frequent engagement in dance and music postponed retirement compared to no engagement in these activities. The study also finds that patterns of leisure engagement after transition into retirement tend to be a continuation of the corresponding preretirement patterns.

Study II investigates the association between grandparenthood and retirement timing. The results show that grandparents at different life stages are more likely to retire compared to non-grandparents, but there is also variation among grandparents, and the more complex the family situation, the more likely grandparents are to retire.

In Study III, the focus shifts to the relationship between survival of elderly parents and retirement timing. The study finds that parental survival is positively linked to retirement timing and that the effects are stronger and more consistent for women thanfor men, in particular when only one parent is still alive. Additionally, women have a higher propensity of retiring in the immediate period after parental death, especially when the father is widowed. In contrast, men have a higher propensity of retiring when either the mother or father has been widowed for some years.

Study IV examines married couples’ propensity to coordinate retirement. The study finds that the likelihood that spouses will coordinate their retirement decreases as their age difference increases but that age differences have a similar effect on retirement coordination for couples with a larger age difference. The study also finds that coordination is largely gender neutral in opposite-sex couples with age differences, regardless of whether the male is the older spouse.

The thesis shows that, compared to wealth or health predictors of retirement, factors concerning the private sphere are also most relevant in non-trivial ways to large shares of retirees in Sweden. Increased knowledge of these relationships is important both for individuals’ retirement planning and for decision-makers’ and policy-makers’ planning and organization.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Sociology, Stockholm University , 2017.
Series
Dissertation series / Stockholm University Demography Unit, ISSN 1404-2304 ; 16
Keywords [en]
retirement, leisure, grandparenthood, elderly parents, marriage, Sweden
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociological Demography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-148514ISBN: 978-91-7797-051-4 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7797-052-1 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-148514DiVA, id: diva2:1153119
Public defence
2017-12-21, hörsal 7, hus D, Universitetsvägen 10 D, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Manuscript. Paper 4: Manuscript.

Available from: 2017-11-28 Created: 2017-10-27 Last updated: 2017-11-22Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Retirement and leisure: a longitudinal study using Swedish data
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Retirement and leisure: a longitudinal study using Swedish data
2015 (English)In: Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, ISSN 1728-4414, E-ISSN 1728-5305, Vol. 12, p. 141-168Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study explores engagement in leisure activities in relation to retirement among individuals aged 58–75 using Swedish longitudinal data over the 1981–2010 period. Our focus is on the relationship between leisure engagement before retirement and retirement timing, as well as on the relationship between leisure engagement before and after retirement. Engagement in leisure is measured through participation in several leisure activities which are popular in Sweden. The results indicate that leisure engagement is not associated with retirement timing when period is considered in the models. It is noteworthy that when the effect of period is excluded, but central predictors of retirement timing are included, leisure engagement is shown to be statistically significant. The results also indicate that leisure engagement patterns in retirement tend to be a continuation of preretirement leisure engagement patterns. The policy implications of these results for active ageing and health are discussed.

National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociological Demography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-147802 (URN)10.1553/populationyearbook2014s141 (DOI)
Note

ISBN 978-3-7001-7948-1, Print Edition, ISBN 978-3-7001-7924-5, Online Edition.

Available from: 2017-10-15 Created: 2017-10-15 Last updated: 2017-10-30Bibliographically approved
2. Retirement timing and grandparenthood: A population-based study on Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Retirement timing and grandparenthood: A population-based study on Sweden
2017 (English)In: Demographic Research, ISSN 1435-9871, Vol. 37, p. 957-994, article id 31Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objective: This study addresses the importance of grandparenthood in relation to retirement timing in Sweden. It extends previous research by assessing a number of grandparental characteristics, such as being a grandparent, a grandparent’s age and gender, number of years since the transition to grandparenthood, number of grandchildren, number of grandchild sets, and age of the youngest grandchild, while simultaneously controlling for other central predictors of retirement timing.

Methods: The study uses survival analysis on Swedish population register data for cohorts born between 1935 and 1945 over the 1993‒2012 period.

Results: The results indicate that grandparents have a higher retirement risk than non-grandparents, even after controlling for age and other central predictors of retirement. The results also show that those who have been grandparents for more than two years have a higher risk of retirement; however, there is variation with respect to the age of the grandparent. In addition, grandparents with multiple grandchildren and grandchild sets exhibit an increased risk of retirement. The study does not find strong differences between grandmothers’ and grandfathers’ retirement timing.

Conclusions: The study finds that grandparents at different life stages have an elevated risk of retirement compared with non-grandparents, but there is also variation among grandparents, and the more complex the family situation, the higher the risk of retirement.

Contribution: The inclusion of grandparenthood enriches the understanding of the complexity of the retirement decision and indicates that this decision is more closely linked to intergenerational family structures than the literature has previously shown. 

Keywords
grandparents, labor market, registry data, retirement
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociological Demography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-147804 (URN)10.4054/DemRes.2017.37.31 (DOI)000412513900001 ()
Available from: 2017-10-15 Created: 2017-10-15 Last updated: 2017-11-13Bibliographically approved
3. Retirement Timing and Parental Survival in the Swedish Population
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Retirement Timing and Parental Survival in the Swedish Population
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

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 retirement timing and the mortality of parents in Sweden. Data were 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 mortality 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.

Keywords
retirement timing, parental death, eldercare
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociological Demography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-148516 (URN)
Available from: 2017-10-27 Created: 2017-10-27 Last updated: 2017-10-30Bibliographically approved
4. Retirement coordination among married couples: An analysis using Swedish administrative registers from 1990 to 2012
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Retirement coordination among married couples: An analysis using Swedish administrative registers from 1990 to 2012
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The study examines how married couples’ age differences influence retirement coordination in Sweden. High-quality longitudinal administrative registers allow us to study all marital opposite-sex and same-sex couples in Sweden in relation to labor market outcomes. With means of regression analysis, we find that the likelihood of couples retiring close in time decreases as their age difference increases but that age differences have a similar effect on retirement coordination for couples with larger age differences. Additionally, retirement coordination is largely gender neutral in opposite-sex couples with age differences regardless of whether the male spouse is older. Also, male same-sex couples retire closer in time than both opposite-sex couples and female same-sex couples. The definition of retirement coordination as the number of years between retirements contributes to the literature on couples’ retirement behavior and allows us to study the degree of retirement coordination among all couples, including those with larger age differences.

National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociological Demography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-148515 (URN)
Available from: 2017-10-27 Created: 2017-10-27 Last updated: 2017-10-30Bibliographically approved

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