Retirement Trends and Policies to Encourage Work Among Older Americans
AbstractThe trend toward earlier and earlier retirement was one of the most important labor market developments of the twentieth century. It was evident in all the major industrialized countries. In the United States, however, the trend toward earlier retirement came to at least a temporary halt in the mid-1980s. Male participation rates at older ages have stabilized or even increased slightly. Older womenÃs participation rates are clearly rising. This paper examines the environmental and policy changes contributing to the long-term decline in the U.S. retirement age as well as developments that contributed to the recent reversal. The dominant source of earlier retirement was the long-term increase in Americans' wealth, which permitted workers to enjoy rising living standards even as they spent a growing percentage of their lives outside the paid work force. The expansion of Social Security pensions and of employer-sponsored pension plans and the introduction of mandatory retirement rules also encouraged earlier retirement over much of the last century. Many public policies and private institutions that encouraged early retirement have been modified in recent years. Mandatory retirement has been outlawed in most jobs. Social Security is no longer growing more generous, and worker coverage under company pension plans is no longer rising. Both Social Security and many private pensions have become more "age neutral" with respect to retirement. Public and private pension programs now provide weaker financial incentives for workers to retire at particular ages, such as age 62 or age 65, and offer stronger incentives for aging workers to remain in the labor force. The paper outlines additional policies that could encourage later retirement. An open question is whether such policies are needed. Rising labor productivity and increased work effort during the pre-retirement years mean that Americans can continue to enjoy higher living standards, even as improved longevity adds to the number of years that workers spend in retirement. If opinion polls are to be believed, most workers favor preserving the institutions that allow early retirement even if it means these institutions will require heavier contributions from active workers.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Boston College Department of Economics in its series Boston College Working Papers in Economics with number 436.
Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: 12 Jan 2000
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in Ensuring Health and Income Security for an Aging Workforce, (Peter Budetti, Richard Burkhauser, Janice Gregory and Allan Hunt, editors). Kalamazoo: The W. E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, 2001, pp. 375-415.
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Boston College, 140 Commonwealth Avenue, Chestnut Hill MA 02467 USA
Web page: http://fmwww.bc.edu/EC/
More information through EDIRC
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2000-01-17 (All new papers)
- NEP-LAB-2000-01-17 (Labour Economics)
- NEP-PUB-2000-01-17 (Public Finance)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Courtney Coile & Jonathan Gruber, 2000. "Social Security and Retirement," NBER Working Papers 7830, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Burtless, Gary, 1986. "Social Security, Unanticipated Benefit Increases, and the Timing of Retirement," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(5), pages 781-805, October.
- Krueger, Alan B & Pischke, Jorn-Steffen, 1992.
"The Effect of Social Security on Labor Supply: A Cohort Analysis of the Notch Generation,"
Journal of Labor Economics,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 10(4), pages 412-37, October.
- Alan Krueger & Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 1989. "The Effect of Social Security on Labor Supply: A Cohort Analysis of the Notch Generation," Working Papers 635, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
- Alan B. Krueger & Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 1991. "The Effect of Social Security on Labor Supply: A Cohort Analysis of the Notch Generation," NBER Working Papers 3699, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1993.
"Employer Provided Health Insurance and Retirement Behavior,"
NBER Working Papers
4307, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1994. "Employer-provided health insurance and retirement behavior," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 48(1), pages 124-140, October.
- Burtless, Gary & Moffitt, Robert A, 1985. "The Joint Choice of Retirement Age and Postretirement Hours of Work," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(2), pages 209-36, April.
- Joseph F. Quinn, 1999. "Has the Early Retirement Trend Reversed?," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 424, Boston College Department of Economics.
- Joseph F. Quinn & Richard V. Burkhauser & Daniel A. Myers, 1990. "Passing the Torch: The Influence of Economic Incentives on Work and Retirement," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number pt.
- Joseph F. Quinn, 1993. "Retirement And The Labor Force Behavior Of The Elderly," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 257, Boston College Department of Economics.
- Joseph F. Quinn, 1993. "The Future Of Retirement," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 249, Boston College Department of Economics.
- Sveinbjörn Blöndal & Stefano Scarpetta, 1999. "The Retirement Decision in OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 202, OECD Publishing.
- Karakaya, Güngör, 2008.
"Early cessation of activity in the labour market: impact of supply and demand factors,"
13390, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Gungor Karakaya, 2009. "Early cessation of activity in the labour market: impact of supply and demand factors," DULBEA Working Papers 09-04.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
- Karen Leppel, 2005. "Labor force plans and labor force status," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 12(8), pages 173-196, April.
- Bernardo Lanza Queiroz, 2007. "The determinants of male retirement in urban Brazil," Nova Economia, Economics Department, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Brazil), vol. 17(1), pages 11-36, January-A.
- Alvaro Forteza & Graciela Sanromán, 2011. "Estimación de un modelo estructural para las decisiones de retiro en Uruguay," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 2411, Department of Economics - dECON.
- Cori E. Uccello, 2001. "Are Americans Saving Enough For Retirement?," Issues in Brief ib-7, Center for Retirement Research.
- Alicia H. Munnell & Steven A. Sass, 2007. "The Labor Supply of Older Americans," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2007-12, Center for Retirement Research, revised Jun 2007.
- Donald Bruce & Douglas Holtz-Eakin & Joseph F. Quinn, 2000. "Self-Employment and Labor Market Transitions at Older Ages," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 490, Boston College Department of Economics.
- Bernardo Lanza Queiroz & Moema Gonçalves Bueno Figoli, 2011. "Population aging and the rising costs of public pension in Brazil," Textos para DiscussÃ£o Cedeplar-UFMG td438, Cedeplar, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais.
- Machado, C. Sofia & Portela, Miguel, 2012.
"Hours of Work and Retirement Behavior,"
IZA Discussion Papers
6270, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2001.
"The Transition to Personal Accounts and Increasing Retirement Wealth: Macro and Micro Evidence,"
NBER Working Papers
8610, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti, 2004. "The Transition to Personal Accounts and Increasing Retirement Wealth: Macro- and Microevidence," NBER Chapters, in: Perspectives on the Economics of Aging, pages 17-80 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Ignacio Álvarez & Natalia da Silva & Álvaro Forteza & Ianina Rossi, 2012. "Incentivos y patrones de retiro en Uruguay," Estudios Económicos, El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Económicos, vol. 27(2), pages 219-271.
- Gordon B.T. Mermin & Richard W. Johnson & Dan Murphy, 2006. "Why Do Boomers Plan to Work So Long?," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2006-19, Center for Retirement Research, revised Nov 2006.
- Bernardo Queiroz, 2013. "Social security, economic development and the labor force participation of the elderly in Latin America," Textos para DiscussÃ£o Cedeplar-UFMG 490, Cedeplar, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais.
- David Dorn & Alfonso Sousa-Poza, 2005. "Early Retirement: Free Choice or Forced Decision," CESifo Working Paper Series 1542, CESifo Group Munich.
- James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2001. "The Changing Face of Private Retirement Saving in the United States," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 2(4), pages 3-11, October.
- Blau, David M. & Goodstein, Ryan, 2007. "What Explains Trends in Labor Force Participation of Older Men in the United States?," IZA Discussion Papers 2991, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Beatrice Scheubel & Daniel Schunk & Joachim Winter, 2009. "Don't Raise the Retirement Age! An Experiment on Opposition to Pension Reforms and East-West Differences in Germany," CESifo Working Paper Series 2752, CESifo Group Munich.
- David Dorn & Alfonso Sousa-Poza, 2010.
"'Voluntary' and 'involuntary' early retirement: an international analysis,"
Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(4), pages 427-438.
- Dorn, David & Sousa-Poza, Alfonso, 2007. "'Voluntary' and 'Involuntary' Early Retirement: An International Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 2714, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Christopher F Baum).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.