Friday, March 08, 2013

United Kingdom: Study Finds Women and Husbands Working Longer Since Female Pension Age Was Raised

The change at which age women can first receive a state pension in the United Kingdom has had a strong effect in increasing employment among those women directly affected by the reform, but has also changed the behaviour of some of the husbands of the affected women, according to new research. According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies Working Paper ("Incentives, shocks or signals: labour supply effects of increasing the female state pension age in the UK"), the affect on men may possibly be because they are delaying their own retirement so they both retire together or perhaps to cover their wives’ lost pension income with additional earnings.

Under legislation enacted in 1995, since April 2010 the age at which women can first receive a state pension has been rising from 60. It is currently at 61 years and 5 months and is due to rise to 66 by 2020. The findings show that, as a result of the one year increase in the female state pension age--from age 60 to 61--that occurred between April 2010 and April 2012:
  • employment rates among 60 year old women have increased by 7.3 percentage points: in other words, in April 2012 there were 27,000 more women in work than there would otherwise have been;
  • employment rates among their husbands have increased by 4.2 percentage points: in other words, there were 8,300 more men in work than there would otherwise have been;
  • 1.3 percentage points more women aged 60 were unemployed: in other words, there were 5,000 more women aged 60 not in work but looking for work than there would otherwise be;
  • the UK’s public finances have been strengthened by around £2.1 billion.
According to Jonathan Cribb, a research economist at the Institute for Fiscal Studies and a co-author of the report:
So, despite the weak performance of the UK economy over these two years, many have been able to limit the loss of state pension income through increased earnings. These results apply only to the first groups affected and how women and men respond may change as the pension age rises further. But this is initial evidence that raising pension ages can have significant positive effects on employment.
Source: Institute for Fiscal Studies Press Release (March 8, 2013)

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