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Age and Individual Productivity: A Literature Survey

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  • Vegard Skirbekk
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    Abstract

    This article surveys supervisors' ratings, analyses of piece-rates and employer-employee datasets as well as other approaches used to estimate how individual productivity varies with age. The causes of productivity variations over the life cycle are addressed with an emphasis on how cognitive abilities affect labour market performance. Earnings tend to increase until relative late in the working life, while most evidence suggests that individuals'job performance tends to increase in the first few years of one's entry into the labour market, before it stabilises and often decreases towards the end of one's career. Productivity reductions at older ages are particularly strong when problem solving, learning and speed are important, while older individuals maintain a relatively high productivity level in work tasks where experience and verbal abilities matter more.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna in its journal Vienna Yearbook of Population Research.

    Volume (Year): 2 (2004)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 133-154

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    Handle: RePEc:vid:yearbk:v:2:y:2004:i:1:p:133-154

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    Web page: http://www.oeaw.ac.at/vid/

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    1. Edward P. Lazear, 1990. "Adjusting to an Aging Labor Force," NBER Chapters, in: Issues in the Economics of Aging, pages 287-316 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2003. "The Skill Content Of Recent Technological Change: An Empirical Exploration," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1279-1333, November.
    3. Murnane, Richard J & Willett, John B & Levy, Frank, 1995. "The Growing Importance of Cognitive Skills in Wage Determination," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(2), pages 251-66, May.
    4. Lazear, Edward P, 1979. "Why Is There Mandatory Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1261-84, December.
    5. Daniel Rodriguez & Madeline Zavodny, 2003. "Changes in the age and education profile of displaced workers," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(3), pages 498-510, April.
    6. H. M. Boot, 1995. "How skilled were Lancashire cotton factory workers in 1833?," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 48(2), pages 283-303, 05.
    7. Judith K. Hellerstein & David Neumark, 1995. "Are Earnings Profiles Steeper Than Productivity Profiles? Evidence from Israeli Firm-Level Data," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(1), pages 89-112.
    8. Lazear, Edward P & Moore, Robert L, 1984. "Incentives, Productivity, and Labor Contracts," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 99(2), pages 275-96, May.
    9. James L. Medoff & Katharine G. Abraham, 1981. "Are Those Paid More Really More Productive? The Case of Experience," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 16(2), pages 186-216.
    10. John H. Tyler & Richard J. Murnane & John B. Willett, 1999. "Do the Cognitive Skills of School Dropouts Matter in the Labor Market?," NBER Working Papers 7101, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. repec:fth:stanho:e-88-34 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Janet Currie & Duncan Thomas, 1999. "Early Test Scores, Socioeconomic Status and Future Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 6943, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Hutchens, Robert M, 1989. "Seniority, Wages and Productivity: A Turbulent Decade," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 49-64, Fall.
    14. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-42, June.
    15. Sharon M. Oster & Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1998. "Aging And Productivity Among Economists," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(1), pages 154-156, February.
    16. Richard J. Murnane & John B. Willett & Yves Duhaldeborde & John H. Tyler, 2000. "How important are the cognitive skills of teenagers in predicting subsequent earnings?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(4), pages 547-568.
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    Cited by:
    1. Alonso Ortiz, Jorge, 2009. "Social Security and Retirement across OECD Countries," MPRA Paper 18563, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Saez, Emmanuel & Matsaganis, Manos & Tsakloglou, Panos, 2010. "Earnings Determination and Taxes: Evidence from a Cohort Based Payroll Tax Reform in Greece," IZA Discussion Papers 4752, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Graf, Nikolaus & Hofer, Helmut & Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, 2009. "Labour Supply Effects of a Subsidised Old-Age Part-Time Scheme in Austria," IZA Discussion Papers 4239, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Jochen Michaelis & Martin Debus, 2009. "Wage and (Un-)Employment Effects of an Ageing Workforce," MAGKS Papers on Economics 200921, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    5. Benoit Dostie & Pierre Thomas Léger, 2008. "Une analyse des déterminants de l’incidence et de l’intensité de la formation des travailleurs québécois selon l’âge et comparaison avec l’Ontario," CIRANO Working Papers 2008s-23, CIRANO.
    6. Dalen, H.P. van & Henkens, C.J.I.M. & Schippers, J., 2009. "Unraveling the age-productivity nexus: Confronting perceptions of employers and employees," Discussion Paper 2009-4, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    7. Henkens, C.J.I.M. & Dalen, H.P. van, 2011. "The employer’s perspective on retirement," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-4807650, Tilburg University.
    8. Schneider, Lutz, 2011. "Zum Einfluss von Alter und Erfahrung auf Produktivitäts- und Lohnprofile - Befunde einer Linked-Employer-Employee-Analyse," Annual Conference 2011 (Frankfurt, Main): The Order of the World Economy - Lessons from the Crisis 48728, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    9. Garrouste, Christelle, 2010. "100 years of educational reforms in Europe: a contextual database," MPRA Paper 31853, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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