Octave De Brouwer (ULB)

12th February 2021 (12pm) « Unemployment versus Early Retirement after Job Loss: An Assessment of the Belgian Pre-Pension Program »

Most OECD countries provide extended and/or more generous unemployment schemes at the end of the career. These schemes are sometimes referred as “unemployment tunnels” as they allow laid off workers to bridge the gap between job loss and the old age pension. In this study, we explore the effects of extended unemployment benefits after an exogenous job loss event on workers’ labour market trajectories, mortality and spouse’ labour supply. We apply our study to the Belgian “pre-pension” program and capture the causal effect of pre-pension eligibility by exploiting the decrease in the statutory age for pre-pension access during mass layoffs. Overall, we find that displaced workers who do not enter pre-pension exhibit higher rates of labour participation but also significantly higher rates of participation into the unemployment and disability programs.

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