De Economist

, Volume 156, Issue 2, pp 113–144 | Cite as

Gradual Retirement: Preferences and Limitations

  • Tunga Kantarci
  • Arthur Van Soest
Open Access


In the traditional retirement scenario, individuals work full-time or part-time until a given age, and then stop working abruptly. From the individual’s point of view, it seems more attractive to have a smooth transition, with gradual retirement. In Sweden and other European countries, specific gradual retirement programs have been created in the past 20 years, first in combination with early retirement programs and later to increase labour market participation of older workers. This paper surveys the existing literature on gradual retirement in the US and Europe and analyzes the relevance of gradual retirement in the Netherlands as a tool to keep people employed longer.


partial pension phased retirement 

JEL (codes)

J14 J26 



This paper was commissioned by Netspar for the Netspar Panel debate in October 2007. Research of Tunga Kantarcı was funded by the Netherlands Science Foundation, NWO. We are grateful to Hanka Vonkova for excellent research assistance and to two anonymous referees, Marno Verbeek, Jan-Maarten van Sonsbeek, Daniel van Vuuren, Jeanne Bovenberg, and Gerardo Soto y Koelemeijer for useful comments.

Open Access

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tilburg UniversityTilburgThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Tilburg University, Netspar and RANDTilburgThe Netherlands

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