European Journal of Epidemiology

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 85–89 | Cite as

Early retirement and mortality in Germany

  • Stephan Kühntopf
  • Thusnelda Tivig


Differences in mortality by retirement age have an important impact on the financing of pension insurance, yet no clear-cut results for Germany exist so far. We calculate mortality rates by retirement age from microdata on all German old-age pensioners and 1.84 million deceases. The life expectancies and survival probabilities at age 65 are estimated for population subgroups according to creditable periods because of disease and pension income. Early-retired men who reach the age of 65 years live significantly longer the later early retirement occurs; the life expectancy at age 65 ranges from 13 to 17.8 years. For each retirement age, mortality of men is higher the more periods of disease are credited in the pension insurance system. For a given length of credited periods of disease, mortality of early retirees decreases with the retirement age. ‘Healthy worker selection effects’ operating in the labour market may contribute to these results. The ‘work longer, live longer’-result is found for each pension income quintile, which resolves the J-curve pattern found in the literature. The mortality of female old-age pensioners varies little with retirement age.


Retirement Mortality Germany Healthy worker effect 



We thank the Research Data Centre of the German Federal Pension Insurance for providing the pension data and are indebted to an anonymous referee for very helpful suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Federal Institute for Population ResearchWiesbadenGermany
  2. 2.University of Rostock and Rostock Centre for the Study of Demographic ChangeRostockGermany

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