An Examination on Un-Retirement: Retirees Returning to Work

TitleAn Examination on Un-Retirement: Retirees Returning to Work
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsGonzales, GErnest
AdvisorHowell, NMorrow
Number of Pages112
Date Published2013
UniversityWashington University in St. Louis
CitySt. Louis, MO
Thesis TypePh.D.
Accession Number1438181057
KeywordsAdult children, Employment and Labor Force, Healthcare, Methodology, Net Worth and Assets, Other, Retirement Planning and Satisfaction

Research that examines retirees returning to work--defined here as un-retirement--is important, given increases in life expectancy and retirement insecurity. Unfortunately research in this area is nascent, limited in scope, and riddled with mixed findings. The current study is guided by three research questions: (1) how do economic resources, as well as human and social capital, relate to un-retirement?; (2) how do other productive activities, including formal and informal volunteering and caregiving, relate to un-retirement?; and (3) how does the retirement experience, including reasons to retire and retirement satisfaction, relate to un-retirement? The empirical literature on wealth and its association with un-retirement is mixed, and thus, an exploratory approach is taken. It is hypothesized that other economic resources (income, pension presence, and health insurances) are negatively related to un-retirement; for example, people with lower levels of income are more likely to return to work. It is hypothesized that higher levels of human capital and social capital are positively associated with un-retirement. It is also hypothesized that productive activities both compete with, and complement each other, and it depends on intensity and timing of events. Specifically, volunteering is a positively associated with un-retirement; that is volunteering complements going back to work. It is also suggested that caregiving is a barrier to un-retirement; that is, the two activities compete. It is hypothesized that forced retirement is positively associated with un-retirement. And finally, it is hypothesized that retirement satisfaction is negatively associated with un-retirement. Data were drawn from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) which provided a nationally representative sample of fully retired older adults aged 62 and older in 1998 (n=8,334). This sample was followed to 2008, which offered a 10-year period to observe factors associated with un-retirement. The fully conditional specification imputation method was used to complete all missing values of the study variables. Survival analysis tested the hypotheses and yielded information on the significant factors associated with un-retirement. Findings reveal that total household net worth and income were not significantly related to un-retirement. Retirees who possessed a pension (p <.05, hazard ratio (HR):0.78, confidence limits (CL):0.63-0.97) and employer sponsored retiree health insurance (p <.05, HR:0.77, CL:0.62-0.95) were 22% and 23% less likely to return to work when compared to people who did not possess such economic resources for retirement. Generally, individuals with higher levels of human capital--better health (p <.0001, HR:1.31, CL:1.20-1.44), high-skilled (p <.05, HR:1.82, CL:1.20-2.75) and mid-skilled occupational workers (p <.05, HR:1.57, CL:1.07-2.28)--were more likely to return to work when compared to low-skilled occupational workers. This suggests that the probability of returning to work increased by 31% for every one unit increase in self-rated health; and the probability of returning to work were 82% and 57% higher for high and mid-skilled workers compared to low-skilled workers. Education, however, was negatively related to un-retirement when other productive activities were examined ( p <.05, HR: 0.96, CL:0.93-0.99), which suggests that for every unit increase in education, the probability of returning to work decreased by 4%. Certain dimensions of social capital were also significantly related to un-retirement; where the probability of returning to work increased by 75% for people who were married to an employed spouse/partner ( p <.0001, HR:1.75, CL:1.36-2.23). Formal and informal volunteering were significant predictors to work; where volunteers were between 38% and 58% more likely to return to work when compared to non-volunteers. However, providing care to a spouse was a major barrier to returning to work; where caregivers were approximately 80% less likely to return to work in subsequent waves when ompared to non-caregivers ( p <.01


Copyright - Copyright ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing 2013 Last updated - 2014-01-21 First page - n/a

Endnote Keywords

0452:Social work

Endnote ID


Short TitleAn Examination on Un-Retirement: Retirees Returning to Work
Citation Key6315