“Too busy to stay at work. How willing are Italian workers “to pay” to anticipate their retirement?”

by Riccardo Calcagno, Flavia Coda Moscarola, Elsa Fornero; CeRP WP 161/16

Using a representative sample of Italian workers aged 55 and above, we study their preference for anticipated retirement and their willingness to pay for a year of anticipation after the recent Italian pension reform (2011), which significantly restricted the access conditions to retirement. We distinguish workers by gender and according to whether they have been obliged to postpone their exit by the reform. The preference for anticipated retirement is particularly strong for women and for workers who were directly affected by the reform. As for the “willingness to pay” to anticipate retirement, there is no systematic difference between the two categories, and this finding is common to both men and women. We also investigate whether informal care duties play a role in explaining the willingness to pay, and we find that the effect differs across genders. Women who are involved in informal care of children are willing to pay significantly more than women who are not caregivers and more than men. Our findings suggest that retirement policies produce side effects, which differ according to both gender and being a caregiver or not. These effects signal that when a pension system performs further tasks than the provision of retirement income, its reform may cause social mismatches unless supplemented by appropriate changes in other social programmes.

Published: April 2016