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Labor Force Transitions at Older Ages: The Roles of Work Environment and Personality

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Author Info

  • Marco Angrisani

    (University of Southern California and RAND Corporation)

  • Michael D. Hurd

    (RAND Corporation)

  • Erik Meijer

    (University of Southern California and RAND Corporation)

  • Andrew M. Parker

    (RAND Corporation)

  • Susann Rohwedder

    (RAND Corporation)

Abstract

Besides compensation and financial incentives, several other work-related factors may affect individual retirement decisions. Specifically, job characteristics such as autonomy, skill variety, task significance and difficulty, stress and physical demands, peer pressure and relations with co-workers, play a crucial role in determining psychological commitment to work at older ages. While financial preparedness for retirement and health shocks are often cited as main predictors of the choice to exit the labor force, there exists relatively little research documenting the extent to which the work environment itself and its interaction with economic variables influence retirement decisions. We document that job characteristics are associated with labor force transitions at older ages, in particular transitions to retirement and part-time employment. Additionally, we show that while personality traits do not directly drive labor force transitions, the effect of job characteristics on labor supply outcomes varies with the “intensity” of personality traits. We also document that job characteristics themselves are strongly related to personality traits. This suggests that, depending on their personality, individuals may select into specific jobs, whose characteristics ultimately shape their retirement paths.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center in its series Working Papers with number wp295.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp295

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  1. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Schurer, Stefanie, 2011. "The Stability of Big-Five Personality Traits," IZA Discussion Papers 5943, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Gustman, Alan L & Steinmeier, Thomas L, 1986. "A Structural Retirement Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 555-84, May.
  3. Jule Specht & Boris Egloff & Stefan C. Schmukle, 2011. "Stability and Change of Personality across the Life Course: The Impact of Age and Major Life Events on Mean-Level and Rank-Order Stability of the Big Five," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 377, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  4. Eric French, 2004. "The Effects of Health, Wealth and Wages on Labor Supply and Retirement Behavior," 2004 Meeting Papers 96, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Ann P. Bartel, 1982. "Wages, nonwage job characteristics, and labor mobility," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 35(4), pages 578-589, July.
  6. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1981. "Partial Retirement and the Analysis of Retirement Behavior," NBER Working Papers 0763, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. John Rust & Christopher Phelan, 1994. "How Social Security and Medicare Affect Retirement Behavior in a World of Incomplete Markets," Public Economics 9406005, EconWPA, revised 06 Jul 1994.
  8. Hurd, Michael D, 1990. "Research on the Elderly: Economic Status, Retirement, and Consumption and Saving," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 28(2), pages 565-637, June.
  9. Laura Crespo, 2006. "Caring For Parents And Employment Status Of European Mid-Life Women," Working Papers wp2006_0615, CEMFI.
  10. Ruhm, Christopher J, 1990. "Bridge Jobs and Partial Retirement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(4), pages 482-501, October.
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