Areas of research

  • Retirement on an old-age pension  
  • Retirement intentions  
  • Continued working  
  • Working lives  


My research deals with retirement, retirement intentions, continued working and working lives.  My recent projects have dealt with self-employed persons’ pension insurance, pensioners’ income and the effects of pension reforms.  In my work, I use individual-level register and questionnaire data. I am a Doctor of Economic Sciences (University of Jyväskylä), majoring in national economics. I have specialised in labour economics, regional economics and applicable micro econometrics. 

Ongoing research projects  

In this study, we examine how the retirement intentions have changed between the years 2008 and 2018 and what underlies the intentions. We pay particular attention to how the 2017 pension reform has affected wage earners’ retirement intentions. Our study is based on data from the 2008 and 2018 Finnish Quality of Working Life Surveys, combined with register data of Statistics Finland and the Finnish Centre for Pensions. The study focuses on wage earners between the ages of 50 and 62.


Researchers: Satu Nivalainen, Noora Järnefelt

We examine which factors increase the likelihood of taking out a partial old-age pension. We are particularly interested in whether the expected life expectancy affects the decision to take out the partial old-age pension. The expected life expectancy is estimated through the lifespan of the parents. The dataset includes the register data of the Finnish Centre for Pensions of persons who would have qualified for a partial old-age pension in 2018 and those who took it out. The data is supplemented with data on the parents’ birth and death years found in the registers of the Finnish Centre for Pensions.


Researchers: Satu Nivalainen, Sanna Tenhunen, Susan Kuivalainen

We investigate how the expected life-expectancy affects the timing of retirement. Expected life-expectancy is evaluated based on parents’ lifetime and age. Moreover, the effect of basic individu-al and family-related factors is investigated. Total register data of income distribution (possibly from years 2007–2017) combined with register data of the Finnish Centre for Pensions and information on parents’ birth and death dates from Statistics Finland is used as a data.

Schedule: 2020–2021

Researchers: Satu Nivalainen, Sanna Tenhunen, Susan Kuivalainen

The individual early retirement (IER) scheme which had relaxed medical criteria, was abolished as an independent program and fused into ordinary disability pension (DP) scheme in 2004. However, the conditions for DP were relaxed to match those under the abolished IER. At the same time, the lowest eligibility age for relaxed conditions was increased from 58 to 60 years. We analyse benefit applications and trends in receipt following the 2004 reform among cohorts affect-ed before and after the reform. Our intention is to analyse the composition of the groups pre/post reform. We use total register data of the Finnish Centre for Pensions from years 1995–2017.

Schedule: 2020

Researchers: Ricky Kanabar (University of Bath), Satu Nivalainen, Mikko Laaksonen, Noora Järnefelt