Workers Retire Later in Life: Is This Linked to Union-Related Events in the Life Course?

Dominic Gagnon

Canada’s labor market, like other developed countries’, has been defined for the last two decades by workers gradually leaving the workforce at a later age. While this postponement has been investigated through many economic factors, conjugal life course events and their timing remain poorly studied. Could the divorce revolution witnessed in the 60s/70s combined with the occurrence of a de-standardization of the conjugal life course be involved in the transformation of workers’ retirement behaviors? This ongoing research project studies the link between the conjugal trajectory of the life course and the timing of retirement. Preliminary results suggest that the timing of union dissolution and age at retirement are associated. One example is that, contrary to what could be expected, a separation or divorce between age 40 and 49 (and not later in the 50s) is associated to the lowest probability of being retired before 65. To dig into causality requires more investigation of the biographical data. Such analysis is currently underway. How does union dissolutions influence our outcome of interest, through its economic consequences? As retirement is still characterized as a gendered behavior and as union dissolutions are still characterized by important gendered consequences, is the association between these two important life course events also gendered?

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 Presented in Session 108. Life Course