In or Out or Somewhere in Between? The Determinants of Gradual Retirement

Charlene Kalenkoski, Sara McCarty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The very definition of retirement has changed. Rather than leaving the labor force completely, many full-time workers engage in gradual retirement. Gradual retirement involves leaving full-time employment for part-time employment, either with the same employer or another employer. This paper examines the determinants of the gradual retirement decisions of older workers. The paper uses panel data from the PSID and a random-effects ordered-logit model. The results indicate that older individuals, Blacks, and individuals with higher non-labor income are more likely to engage in gradual or full retirement. They also indicate that married individuals, college graduates, and those who are in good health are less likely to either gradually or fully retire. The 60s are the time most people engage in gradual retirement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-394
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Family and Economic Issues
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Bridge Employment
  • Demographic Characteristics
  • Gradual Retirement


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