Actual Retirement Age: A European Cross-Country Analysis

Hila Axelrad, Israel Luski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The decision about the timing of retirement and actual retirement age is based on financial factors as well as personal characteristics and country-level macro indicators. The goal of this research is to examine the associations between the mentioned factors and actual retirement age while focusing on similarities and differences between European countries. The data came from 34,478 respondents in 20 countries who participated in waves 2, 4 and 5 of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). Using Ordinary least squares regression models, we explored associations between actual retirement age and personal as well as the country-level variables. Results reveal that higher Gross Domestic Product (GDP), higher pension spending, being a male, and being self-employed were found to be associated with higher actual retirement age, while being a female, civil servant, having fair or poor health, and secondary education were found to be associated with lower actual retirement age. The effect of net household wealth and GDP were not consistent across countries. The contribution of our study is the ability to make predictions about actual retirement age based on each country’ GDP per capita, thus adding the country variables to the individual characteristics and improving our understanding concerning actual retirement age. The different effects of wealth and GDP across countries suggest that policymakers should take into account the specific effect in their country to better assess the implications of different policy measures on the actual retirement age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)534-558
Number of pages25
JournalAgeing International
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • GDP
  • International comparison
  • Retirement
  • Retirement Age
  • Wealth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)


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