Determinants of early retirement preferences in Europe: The role of grandparenthood

Oshrat Hochman*, Noah Lewin-Epstein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Various family characteristics are acknowledged as important determinants of retirement preferences. Yet, the relevance of the third family generation - the grandchildren - has been largely overlooked. In this article we bring the association between grandparenthood and retirement preferences to the fore. We expect to find such a relationship for two main reasons: first, rising participation rates in the labor market, especially among mothers, increases the need for childcare which, in some countries, is only partially provided by the state. Second, for many people grandparenthood marks the transition to a new phase in the life-course, implying new role-identities. We thus expect grandparenthood to decrease anxieties associated with retirement and with the potential loss of one's role-identity as a working person. We test the association between grandparenthood and retirement preferences using data from the Survey of Health, Aging, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). The findings confirm that grandparenthood increases an individual's chances of looking forward to retiring early, thus supporting the claim that individuals' lives are linked to the lives of their family members. Contrary to expectations, the association of grandparenthood with retirement preferences is particularly strong in countries that provide extensive childcare support.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-47
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Comparative Sociology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2013


FundersFunder number
German-Israel Foundation for Scientific Research1021- 305.4/2008
National Institute on AgingR21 AG025169, Y1-AG-4553-01, IAG BSR06-11, P01 AG005842, P30 AG12815, P01 AG08291, OGHA 04-064, U01 AG09740-13S2
Seventh Framework Programme211909, 227822
Sixth Framework ProgrammeCIT4-CT-2006-028812, CIT5-CT-2005-028857, RII-CT- 2006-062193
Fifth Framework ProgrammeQLK6-CT-2001- 00360


    • Europe
    • grandparenthood
    • linked-lives
    • retirement


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