Journal of Family and Economic Issues

, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp 396–407 | Cite as

Retirement Timing of Dual-Earner Couples in 11 European Countries? A Comparison of Cox and Shared Frailty Models

  • Hanne De Preter
  • Dorien Van Looy
  • Dimitri Mortelmans
Original Paper


Retirement is not only an individual decision, it is a decision taken within a family system. The extent to which estimates of retirement predictors are biased by the clustering of older workers (50 years of age or older) into dual-earner households remains unclear. Using longitudinal data on 11 European countries from the first (2004/2005) and second (2006/2007) waves of the Survey on Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), this study investigated the retirement timing of older workers aged 50+ living in dual-earner households in 11 European countries. We questioned how measures that are significantly related to retirement timing differ according to whether one takes into account the household context in the retirement analysis. The results showed that covariates that are dependent among partners (e.g., household size, educational level) changed the least between the Cox model and the shared frailty model. The effects of controlling for clustering between partners, although fairly modest, appeared to be important as they revealed a systematic pattern in the direction of bias in estimates that assume an independent sample.


Dual-earner households Retirement timing Cox models Shared frailty models SHARE 



This paper uses data from SHARE release 2.5.0, as of May 24 2011. The SHARE data collection was primarily funded by the European Commission through the 5th framework programme (project QLK6-CT-2001-00360 in the thematic programme Quality of Life), through the 6th framework programme (projects SHARE-I3, RII-CT- 2006-062193, COMPARE, CIT5-CT-2005-028857, and SHARELIFE, CIT4-CT-2006-028812) and through the 7th framework programme (SHARE-PREP, 211909 and SHARE-LEAP, 227822). Additional funding from the U.S. National Institute on Aging (U01 AG09740-13S2, P01 AG005842, P01 AG08291, P30 AG12815, Y1-AG-4553-01 and OGHA 04-064, IAG BSR06-11, R21 AG025169) as well as from various national sources is gratefully acknowledged (see for a full list of funding institutions).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hanne De Preter
    • 1
  • Dorien Van Looy
    • 1
  • Dimitri Mortelmans
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Centre for Longitudinal and Life Course Studies (CELLO)University of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium

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