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

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  • 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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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. Edward P. Lazear, 1983. "Pensions as Severance Pay," NBER Chapters, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, in: Financial Aspects of the United States Pension System, pages 57-90 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Lazear, Edward P, 1979. "Why Is There Mandatory Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1261-84, December.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. John Rust, 1987. "A Dynamic Programming Model of Retirement Behavior," NBER Working Papers 2470, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. Barry Nalebuff & Richard J. Zeckhauser, 1984. "Pensions and the Retirement Decision," NBER Working Papers 1285, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Douglas W. Phillips & David A. Wise, 1987. "Military versus Civilian Pay: A Descriptive Discussion," NBER Chapters, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, in: Public Sector Payrolls, pages 19-46 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & David A. Wise, 1987. "The Incentive Effects of Private Pension Plans," NBER Chapters, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, in: Issues in Pension Economics, pages 283-340 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. 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.
  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., John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 3(1), pages 1-13.
  12. 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.
  13. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1983. "A Structural Retirement Model," NBER Working Papers 1237, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Jeremy I. Bulow, 1981. "Early Retirement Pension Benefits," NBER Working Papers 0654, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Burtless, Gary, 1986. "Social Security, Unanticipated Benefit Increases, and the Timing of Retirement," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(5), pages 781-805, October.
  16. 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.
  17. James H. Stock & David A. Wise, 1988. "Pensions, The Option Value of Work, and Retirement," NBER Working Papers 2686, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. repec:fth:stanho:e-88-29 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Howard L. Frant & Herman B. Leonard, 1987. "Promise Them Anything: The Incentive Structures of Local Public Pension Plans," NBER Chapters, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, in: Public Sector Payrolls, pages 215-242 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. 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.
  21. Jerry A. Hausman & David A. Wise, 1985. "Social Security, Health Status, and Retirement," NBER Chapters, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, in: Pensions, Labor, and Individual Choice, pages 159-192 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Edward P. Lazear & Robert L. Moore, 1988. "Pensions and Turnover," NBER Chapters, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, in: Pensions in the U.S. Economy, pages 163-190 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Berkovec, James & Stern, Steven, 1991. "Job Exit Behavior of Older Men," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 59(1), pages 189-210, January.
  24. Burtless, Gary & Hausman, Jerry, 1982. "`Double dipping': the combined effects of social security and civil service pensions on employee retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 139-159, July.
  25. Hausman, Jerry A & Wise, David A, 1980. "Discontinuous Budget Constraints and Estimation: The Demand for Housing," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 75-96, January.
  26. David T. Ellwood, 1985. "Pensions and the Labor Market: A Starting Point (The Mouse Can Roar)," NBER Chapters, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, in: Pensions, Labor, and Individual Choice, pages 19-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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