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Unintended consequences of the retirement‐age extension in South Korea

Tai Lee and Joonmo Cho

Asian-Pacific Economic Literature, 2022, vol. 36, issue 1, 105-125

Abstract: In this study, we investigate the effects of the policy on the legal retirement age of 60 (or above) implemented in Korea in 2016. It was generally expected that the implementation of the policy would extend the retirement age of workers and provide them with minimum employment up to the age of 60. However, our empirical analysis provides evidence contrary to general expectations. First, post the introduction of the policy, the probability of workers retiring at the mandatory retirement age has decreased, whereas the probability of workers retiring early for involuntary reasons in their 50s has increased. Second, the workers who were predicted to benefit from the policy had trouble retaining their jobs until the legal retirement age of 60. These results demonstrate the possibility that companies attempted to terminate their senior workers before they reached the mandatory retirement age of 60 by means of recommendations to resign and offers of honourable retirement. In conclusion, we found that it is difficult to provide actual employment protection up to the legal retirement age by making it compulsory through legislation.

Date: 2022
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