|Title||How Alternative Definitions of Retirement and Social Class Shape Conclusions about the Retired Population|
|Year of Publication||2004|
|City||United States -- Massachusetts|
|Keywords||Demographics, Healthcare, Methodology, Retirement Planning and Satisfaction, Women and Minorities|
The conceptualization and operationalization of retirement remains a challenge in retirement research. Those studies which have examined multiple conceptualizations of retirement often limit the investigation to two, three, or four definitions of retirement. These studies also produce contradictory results with respect to the degree of overlap among various definitions of retirement. Moreover, in the investigation of the relationship between predictor variables and the probability of retirement, push and pull factors (such as pension receipt and health) are often the focal point of the inquiry. While most studies include in their analysis a class measure as a control variable for the model, seldom is the relationship between social class and the probability of retirement the focal point of the investigation. This study employs data from the 1998 wave of the Health and Retirement Study to perform an extensive analysis of seven operationalizations of retirement and five operationalizations of social class to evaluate how the use of alternative definitions of retirement and social class shape conclusions drawn about the composition of the retired population. Analyses are performed for the entire sample selected for this study, as well as for Non-Hispanic White, Hispanic, and Non-Hispanic Black subgroups. The results of the analyses indicate that different operationalizations of retirement affect the characterization the retired population; moreover the use of different operationalizations of social class influences the perceptions of the socio-economic condition of the retired population. Despite socio-economic achievements, the findings suggest that initial inequalities associated with ascriptive traits like race and gender continue to constrain women and minorities' life course trajectories. While it is not possible to conduct a comprehensive examination of operationalizations of retirement in gerontological literature, this study includes operationalizations of retirement that acknowledge retirement as an event, an identity, and a process.
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|Short Title||How Alternative Definitions of Retirement and Social Class Shape Conclusions about the Retired Population|