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Aging and Labor Force Participation: A Review of Trends and Explanations

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Author Info

  • David A. Wise
  • Robin L. Lumsdaine

Abstract

The American population is aging rapidly. Persons 65 and over who now constitute about one-fifth of the population will constitute about two-fifths of the population by 2040. In addition, individuals are living longer. Yet the labor force participation of older Americans has fallen dramatically in recent years. This paper discusses this trend and the principal arguments put forth to explain it. The paper is in two parts. The first part reviews trends in labor force participation and associated trends in Social Security (SS) coverage, firm pension plan coverage, and other factors that are likely to be associated with the labor force participation trends, including demographics. The second part of the paper discusses the incentive effects of SS and retirement plans, with emphasis on firm pension plans.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w3420.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3420.

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Date of creation: Aug 1990
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Publication status: published as Aging in the United States and Japan, ed. Yukio Noguchiand David Wise, eds., University of Chicago Press, 1994.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3420

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References

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  1. Barry Nalebuff & Richard J. Zeckhauser, 1984. "Pensions and the Retirement Decision," NBER Working Papers 1285, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1983. "A Structural Retirement Model," NBER Working Papers 1237, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Steven G. Allen & Robert L. Clark & Ann A. McDermed, 1988. "Why Do Pensions Reduce Mobility?," NBER Working Papers 2509, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Jeremy I. Bulow, 1981. "Early Retirement Pension Benefits," NBER Working Papers 0654, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Gary Burtless & Jerry A. Hausman, 1981. ""Double Dipping": The Combined Effects of Social Security and Civil Service Pensions on Employee Retirement," NBER Working Papers 0800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & David A. Wise, 1987. "Labor Compensation and the Structure of Private Pension Plans: Evidence for Contractual Versus Spot Labor Markets," NBER Working Papers 1290, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. David T. Ellwood, 1985. "Pensions and the Labor Market: A Starting Point (The Mouse Can Roar)," NBER Chapters, in: Pensions, Labor, and Individual Choice, pages 19-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & David A. Wise, 1987. "The Incentive Effects of Private Pension Plans," NBER Chapters, in: Issues in Pension Economics, pages 283-340 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Stock, James H & Wise, David A, 1990. "Pensions, the Option Value of Work, and Retirement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(5), pages 1151-80, September.
  10. Berkovec, James & Stern, Steven, 1991. "Job Exit Behavior of Older Men," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(1), pages 189-210, January.
  11. Joseph F. Quinn & Richard V. Burkhauser, 1983. "Influencing retirement behavior: A key issue for social security," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 3(1), pages 1-13.
  12. Lazear, Edward P, 1979. "Why Is There Mandatory Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1261-84, December.
  13. Edward P. Lazear, 1982. "Pensions as Severance Pay," NBER Working Papers 0944, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. repec:fth:stanho:e-88-29 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Hausman, Jerry A & Wise, David A, 1980. "Discontinuous Budget Constraints and Estimation: The Demand for Housing," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 75-96, January.
  16. Richard V. Burkhauser, 1980. "The early acceptance of social security: An asset maximization approach," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 33(4), pages 484-492, July.
  17. Alan S. Blinder & Roger H. Gordon & Donald E. Wise, 1980. "Reconsidering the Work Disincentive Effects of Social Security," NBER Working Papers 0562, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Jeanne M. Hogarth, 1988. "Accepting an Early Retirement Bonus an Empirical Study," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 23(1), pages 21-33.
  19. John Rust, 1987. "A Dynamic Programming Model of Retirement Behavior," NBER Working Papers 2470, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Douglas W. Phillips & David A. Wise, 1987. "Military versus Civilian Pay: A Descriptive Discussion," NBER Chapters, in: Public Sector Payrolls, pages 19-46 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Edward P. Lazear & Robert L. Moore, 1988. "Pensions and Turnover," NBER Chapters, in: Pensions in the U.S. Economy, pages 163-190 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Howard L. Frant & Herman B. Leonard, 1987. "Promise Them Anything: The Incentive Structures of Local Public Pension Plans," NBER Chapters, in: Public Sector Payrolls, pages 215-242 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Lawrence Summers & Chris Carroll, 1987. "Why Is U.S. National Saving So Low?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 18(2), pages 607-642.
  24. Jerry A. Hausman & David A. Wise, 1985. "Social Security, Health Status, and Retirement," NBER Chapters, in: Pensions, Labor, and Individual Choice, pages 159-192 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. 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.
  26. Richard V. Burkhauser, 1979. "The Pension Acceptance Decision of Older Workers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(1), pages 63-75.
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