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Re-examining female labor supply responses to the 1994 Australian pension reform

Todd Morris ()
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Todd Morris: Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy

Review of Economics of the Household, 2022, vol. 20, issue 2, No 4, 419-445

Abstract: Abstract Many governments are aiming to extend working lives by raising the age at which people can claim retirement pensions. This makes it vital to understand how these policies affect retirement decisions. In this paper, I revisit the labor supply effects of a major Australian reform that increased women’s pension age from 60 to 65. Atalay and Barrett (2015) studied these effects using repeated household surveys and a differences-in-differences design in which male cohorts form the comparison group. They estimate that the reform increased female labor force participation by 12 percentage points. Using earlier data, I show that the parallel-trends assumption did not hold before the reform because of a strong female-specific trend in participation rates across the relevant cohorts. Accounting for this trend, the estimated effect on female participation falls by two-thirds and becomes statistically insignificant at conventional levels. This highlights the importance of carefully assessing and controlling for trends across cohorts when evaluating pension reforms, which are typically phased in across cohorts.

Keywords: Retirement age; Labor supply; Cohort effects (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H55 I38 J26 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1007/s11150-021-09561-y

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