European Journal of Ageing

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 199–206 | Cite as

Can personality predict retirement behaviour? A longitudinal analysis combining survey and register data from Norway

Original Investigation


This study investigates how far personality can predict the timing and routes of people’s retirement. It uses a large comprehensive Norwegian survey, with larger sample size than earlier related studies, providing estimates of personality based on the five-factor model. The survey data are matched with administrative data, allowing observations of retirement over the 2002–2007 period. The analysis distinguishes between the disability and the non-disability retirements. Retirement is investigated using discrete time, competing risk, logistic regression models amongst individuals aged 50–69. Results indicate that personality predicts disability retirement but not non-disability retirement. Neuroticism increases the risk of disability retirement in women. Agreeableness and extraversion may prevent disability retirement, whereas openness may increase the risk of disability in men. Personality effects are generally consistent across models controlling, or not controlling, for well-known predictors of retirement behaviour including education, income and occupational group. The main exception is that poor health explains the effect of neuroticism on women’s disability retirement.


Personality traits Five factor model Retirement Disability Longitudinal data 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Social WorkUniversity of AgderKristiansandNorway
  2. 2.International Institute for Applied Systems AnalysisLaxenburgAustria

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