The Decision to Retire Early: Evidence from Private Service Sector in Thailand

Main Article Content

Kaewkwan Tangtipongkul Supachai Srisuchart


Using worker survey data from the Foundation of Thai Gerontology Research and Development Institute, this paper analyzes the factors that lead to the decision to take early retirement of workers in the private service sector in Thailand. The private service sector is here limited to the wholesale, retail, hotel, and restaurant industries. The analysis is restricted to individuals aged above 45 years at the time of the survey. The data set includes information gathered from 611 individuals. This study applies Beehr’s (1986) framework, which identifies the extension of working decisions by individual characteristics and working environment. Using the logistic regression model, it was found that individuals who work in retail have an approximately 9% higher propensity to delay their plan to retire early than those in other industries. The results also indicate that individuals with debt have an approximately 8% higher propensity to retire early than those without. In addition, it was found that those who can avail of financial transfers from their families have a higher propensity to delay their early retirement than those who cannot. This may imply that older workers may not want to be a financial burden on their family. Regarding other sources of financing after retirement, only the availability of a social security plan shows a positive— although insignificant—impact on the decision to retire early. Also, those with a positive attitude toward older workers in the workplace—for example, regarding their ability to adapt to a new work environment—have a higher propensity to retire early. These findings call into question the belief that family altruism and a positive attitude toward older workers in the workplace are essential factors in individual decision-making regarding retirement.



Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Tangtipongkul, K., & Srisuchart, S. (2018). The Decision to Retire Early: Evidence from Private Service Sector in Thailand. Journal of Population and Social Studies [JPSS], 26(2), 149 - 164. Retrieved from


Ajzen, I. (1991). The theory of planned behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 50, 179-211.
Adams, G. A. & Beehr, T. A. (1998). Turnover and retirement: A comparison on their similarities and differences. Personnel Psychology, 51, 643-665.
Antolin, P. and Scarpetta, S. (1998). Microeconometric Analysis of the Retirement Decision: Germany (OECD Economics Department Working Papers No. 204). OECD Publishing. doi:
Ashforth, B. (2001). Role transitions in organizational life: An identity-based perspective. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Beach, L. R., & Frederickson, J.R. (1989). Image theory: An alternative description of audit decisions. Accounting, Organizations, and Society, 14, 101-112.
Beehr, T. A. (1986). The process of retirement. Personal Psychology, 39, 31 – 55.
Beehr, T. A. and Glazer, S. (2000). Work and Nonwork Predictors of Employees’ Retirement Ages. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 57, 206 – 235.
Belgrave, L. L. & Haug, M. A. (1995). Retirement transition and adaptation: Are health and finances losing their effects? Journal of Clinical Geropsychology, 1, 43-66.
Borsch – Supan, A., Schnabel, R., Kohnz, S. & Mastrobuoni, G. (2002). Micro-Modeling of Retirement Decisions in Germany, In: J. Gruber and D. Wise (eds.), Incentive Effects of Public Pensions Systems, University of Chicago Press, in press.
Brougham, R. R. & Walsh, D. A. (2007). Image theory, goal incompatibility, and retirement intent. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 63, 203-229.
Cameron, A. C. & Trevedi, P. K. (2009). Microeconometrics Using Stata. Stata Press.
Chamchan, C. (2008). Issues in Considering the New Concept of “the Elderly’s Definition” and “the Age of Retirement” in Thailand. Thai Population Journal, 4(1), 131-150.
Cron, W. L., Jackofsky, E. F. & Slocum, J. W. (1993). Job performance and attitude of disengagement stage sales people who are about to retire. Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, 13, 1-13.
Davies, E. M. M., Van der Heijden, B. I. J. M. & Flynn, M. (2017). Job satisfaction, retirement attitude and intended retirement age: a conditional process analysis across workers’ level of household income. Frontiers in Psychology. 8, article 891.
Department of Work & Pensions. (2017). Older workers and the workplace: Evidence from the workplace employment relations survey. Research Report No 939.
DeVaney, S. A. & Kim, H. (2003). Older self-employed workers and planning for the future. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 37, 123-142.
Feldman, D. C. (1994). The Decision to retirement early: A review and conceptualization. Academy of Management Review, 19, 285 – 311.
Foundation of Thai Gerontology Research and Development Institute and Institute for Population and Social Research Mahidol University (2014). Situation of Thai Elderly 2013. [in Thai]
Gallo, W. T., Bradley, E. H., Siegel, M. & Kasl, S. (2000). Health effects of involuntary job loss among older workers: Findings from the Health and Retirement Survey. Journals of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 55B, S131-S140.
Government pension fund. (2012). Thai pension system. Retrieved August 10, 2017, from
Gustman, A. L. & Steinmeier, T. L. (1986). A structural retirement model. Econometrica, 54, 555-584.
Hanisch, K. A. & Hulin, C. L. (1990). Job attitudes and organizational withdrawal: An examination of retirement and other voluntary withdrawal behaviors. Journal of Vocatonal Behavior, 37, 60-78.
Hatcher, C. B. (2003). The economics of the retirement decision. In G.A. Adams & T.A. Beehr (Eds.), Retirement: Reasons, processes, and results, 136-158. New York: Springer.
Huuhtanen, P. & Piispa, M. (1992). Work and retirement attitudes of 50- to 64-year-old people to work and on pension. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, 18, 21-23.
Karpansalo, M., Manninen, P., Kauhanen, J., Lakka, T. & Salonen, J. (2004). Perceived health as a predictor of early retirement. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, 30, 287-292.
Kim, S. (2003). The impact of research productivity on early retirement of university professors. Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy & Society, 42, 106-125.
Maddala, G. S. (1983). Limited-Dependent and Qualitative Variables in Econometrics. Cambridge University Press, NY.
Messe, P. J., Eva, M. G. & Wolff, F. C. (2014). Retirement intentions in the presence of technological change: theory and evidence from France. Journal of Labor Economics, 3, 8.
Moen, P., Dempster-McClain, D. & Williams, R. W., Jr. (1992). Successful aging: A life course perspective on women’s multiple roles and health. American Journal of Sociology, 97, 1612-1638.
National Statistics Office (2015). Data on Number of formal and informal workers classified by industry, Thailand.
OECD. (n.d.). Employment policy and data: Aging and Employment Policies. Retrieved March 10, 2017, from policies.htm
Quinn, J. F., Burkhauser, R. V. & Myers, D. A. (1990). Passing the torch: The influence of economic incentives on work and retirement. Kalamazoo, MI: W.E. Upjohn.
Shultz, K. S., Morton, K. R. & Weckerle, J. R. (1998). The influence of push and pull factors on voluntary and involuntary early retirees’ retirement decision and adjustment. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 53, 45-57.
Shultz, K. S., Taylor, M.A. & Morrison, R. F. (2003). Work related attitudes on Naval officers before and after retirement. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 57, 259-274.
Soonthornchawakan and Cintakulchai (2009). Job Opportunities Creation for the Elderly. Foundation of Thai Gerontology Research and Development Institute and Institute for Population. [in Thai]
Soonthornchawakan and Kulthanavit (2013). The Study of Age-Productivity Profiles and the Old Aged Labor’ s Working in Manufacturing Sector, Trade and Services Sector and Wholesale-Retail Trade and Hotel-Restaurants Sector. Foundation of Thai Gerontology Research and Development Institute and Institute for Population. [in Thai]
Szinovacz, M. E. & Davey, A. (2004). Honeymoons and joint lunches: Effects of retirement and spouse’s employment on depressive symptoms. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 59B, 233-245.
Taylor, M. A. & Shore, L. M. (1995). Predictors of Planned retirement: An application of Beehr’s model. Psychological and Aging, 10, 76 – 83.
Talaga, J. A. & Beehr, T. A. (1995). Are there gender differences in predicting retirement decisions? Journal of Applied Psychology, 80, 16-28.
Van Solinge, H. & Henkens, K. (2007). Involuntary retirement: the role of restrictive circumstances, timing, and social embeddedness. Journals of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 62B, S295-S303.
Vroom, V. H. (1964). Work and motivation. New York, Wiley.
Wang, M. & Shultz, K. S. (2010). Employee retirement: a review and recommendations for future investigation. Journal of Management, 36(1), 172-206.
Wang, M., Zhan, Y., Liu, S. & Shultz, K. S. (2008). Antecedents of bridge employment: A longitudinal investigation. Journal of Applied Psychology, 93, 818-830.
Wooldridge, J. M. (2002). Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data. Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
World Population Prospects: The 2012 Revision (Update: 13 June 2013). Data on forecast on old-age dependency ratio, Thailand.