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Health as a predictor of early retirement before and after introduction of a flexible statutory pension age in Finland
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS). University of Helsinki, Finland; Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Germany.
Number of Authors: 4
2016 (English)In: Social Science and Medicine, ISSN 0277-9536, E-ISSN 1873-5347, Vol. 158, 149-157 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Little is known of how pension reforms affect the retirement decisions of people with different health statuses, although this is crucial for the understanding of the broader societal impact of pension policies and for future policy development. We assessed how the Finnish statutory pension age reform introduced in 2005 influenced the role of health as a predictor of retirement. Methods: We used register-based data and cox regression analysis to examine the association of health (measured by purchases of psychotropic medication, hospitalizations due to circulatory and musculoskeletal diseases, and the number of any prescription medications) with the risk of retirement at age 63-64 among those subject to the old pension system with fixed age limit at 65 (pre-reform group born in 1937-1941) and the new flexible system with 63 as the lower age limit (post-reform group born in 1941-1945) while controlling for socio-demographic factors. Results: Retirement at age 63-64 was more likely among the post- than the pre-reform group (HR = 1.50; 95% CI 1.43-1.57). This reform-related increase in retirement was more pronounced among those without a history of psychotropic medication or hospitalizations due to circulatory and musculoskeletal diseases, as well as among those with below median level medication use. As a result, poor health became a weaker predictor of retirement after the reform. Conclusion: Contrary to the expectations of the Finnish pension reform aimed at extending working lives, offering choice with respect to the timing of retirement may actually encourage healthy workers to choose earlier retirement regardless of the provided economic incentives for continuing in work.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 158, 149-157 p.
Keyword [en]
Pension reform, Retirement decisions, Health, Prescription medication, Hospital admissions, Finland
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology Sociology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-131931DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2016.04.029ISI: 000377234600017PubMedID: 27155163OAI: diva2:946545
Available from: 2016-07-05 Created: 2016-07-04 Last updated: 2016-07-05Bibliographically approved

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Martikainen, Pekka
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