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Using data from three waves of the General Social Survey on retirement and older workers (1994, 2002 and 2007), the authors document the evolution of retirement patterns over the last three decades. They combined the analysis of retirement ages of actual retirees with data on expected retirement ages of current workers to create a longer perspective on changes in retirement behavior in Canada. They also investigate trends in work after retirement. Their findings are in line with findings from other countries. There is an upward trend in retirement ages which likely started around year 2000 for cohorts born after 1945. This trend contrasts with the slow decline in retirement ages observed prior to the end of the millennium. While the downward trend was likely due to factors such as the offering of early retirement programs in private firms, the upward trend is likely to be caused by a wider variety of sources, including better health, less pervasive defined benefit pensions and in general less generous pensions.

This paper series made possible by the NIA-funded RAND Center for the Study of Aging and the NICHD-funded RAND Population Research Center

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