How Does Transitioning into Retirement Impacts Life Satisfaction? Evidence from the Swiss Context


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How Does Transitioning into Retirement Impacts Life Satisfaction? Evidence from the Swiss Context
Wernli Boris, Ryser Valérie-Anne
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presentation at the SHP Conference, 6-7.6.2017, Lausanne
This article aims to document the impact and timing of the transition to retirement on life satisfaction (LS) while taking into account working conditions prior to retirement, social participation (participation in clubs or other groups, satisfaction of free time, leisure activities and personal relationships) and health status (impediment, satisfaction with health). The analyses are based on the last 15 waves of the Swiss Household Panel (2001 – 2015), a multithematic annual household panel based on a random sample from the Swiss resident population (
Respondents aged 50 and over working in their first episode of observation and retiring only once were selected in our sample, retirement being operationalized as (a) having no remunerated professional activity and b) not seeking work in the current wave and (c) having worked at least one hour per week in the last wave. In total, 8002 complete episodes relating to 899 different individuals during the SHP waves 3 to 17 (2001-2015) were retained.
Analyzes are performed separately for women and men, and controlling for demographics (age), and economics parameters (household income, education level, satisfaction with financial situation). We adopt a life course perspective and use a multilevel approach (mixed linear model) to study individual trajectories both on the short- and the mid-term. This analytical strategy is aiming at understanding not only the immediate impact of this major transition on well-being, but also at capturing its duration through time, before, during and after the end of careers.
After having ensured that the impact of years around retirement is linear, we introduced this parameter as a continuous variable in our models, to facilitate the calculation of interaction terms with other covariates.
The first empirical results based on MLMs (table 1) showed that retirement itself does not play a key role in shaping individuals’ life satisfaction, for both women and men. Nevertheless, our results demonstrate that working conditions play a key role in shaping individuals’ subjective well-being before and after retirement, particularly among men.
Positive work identification is detrimental to LS after retirement; conversely precarious working conditions before retirement increase LS after retirement. For men satisfaction with health status increase LS after retirement. To a lesser extent, the capacity of individuals to endorse different roles through social and family participation also tends to affect the level of LS.
We also noted that living with a partner had slight negative impacts on women when retiring, which can be explained by the many changes in social and family life that happen with this transition.
Finally, the timing of retirement does not show any significant impact. These results highlight that retirement itself has no influence on LS and this is more the working conditions prior to retirement, the capacity to endorse new social roles and the satisfaction with health that play a key role in shaping LS after the transition to retirement.
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20/12/2017 13:16
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