Population Research and Policy Review

, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 159–182 | Cite as

Leaving Retirement: Age-Graded Relative Risks of Transitioning Back to Work or Dying

  • Ben Lennox Kail
  • David F. Warner


Demographic research has documented the age-graded risk of returning to work after a period of retirement; few studies, however, have disaggregated this risk into the different forms work takes in later life. Moreover, prior research has not explored the age-graded risk of re-retiring after reentry. This study uses the 1992–2008 Health and Retirement Study to first examine the age-graded and duration dependent risks of transitioning to full-time work, part-time work, and mortality from full retirement. Second, this study documents the age-graded duration of reemployment, and the age-graded risk of re-retiring. Results from multi-decrement life tables indicate reemployment both occurs more frequently and lasts longer than previously estimated. The gender differences in risk of reemployment are modest, although women are at greater risk of returning to part-time work, whereas men are at greater risk of returning to full-time work. Additionally, retirees from services-producing industries are at lower risk of transitioning to work, but greater risks of mortality, suggesting retirement is a less permanent feature in the life course of retirees from goods-producing industries. Finally, the results suggest Social Security benefit eligibility plays a part in reducing reentry at later ages.


Retirement Labor force Life course Gender Industry 

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 25 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyGeorgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Department of SociologyUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA

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