Kopafbeelding publicaties CPB

Demanding occupations and the retirement age in the Netherlands

CPB Discussion Paper 291, 30 October 2014

In the policy debate on increasing the statutory retirement age, the issue has been raised to make an exception for workers with demanding occupations, since health considerations may make it unreasonable to expect them to work longer.

We use unique Dutch survey data to analyze the general public’s opinions on what are demanding occupations, to what extent it is justified that someone with a demanding occupation can retire earlier, and on the willingness to contribute to an earlier retirement scheme for such occupations through higher taxes. A representative sample of Dutch adults answered several questions about hypothetical persons with five different jobs. Panel data models are used to analyze the answers, accounting for confounding factors affecting the evaluations of the demanding nature of the jobs as well as their reasonable retirement age or willingness to contribute to an early retirement scheme. The Dutch public thinks that workers in demanding occupations should be able to retire earlier. A one standard deviation increase in the perceived demanding nature of an occupation translates into a one year decrease in the reasonable retirement age and a 30 to 40 percentage points increase in the willingness to contribute to an early retirement scheme for that occupation. There is some evidence that respondents whose own job is similar to the occupation they evaluate find this occupation more demanding than other respondents but respondents are also willing to contribute to early retirement of occupations that are not similar to their own.

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