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Agricultural Decline and the Secular Rise in Male Retirement Rates

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  • Costa Dora L.

Abstract

Explanations for the decline in labor force participation rates of older men prior to 1950 have focused on the sectoral shift from agriculture to manufacturing. Labor force participation rates of men living in farm households have been consistently higher than those of men living in non-farm households. The decline in the size of the agricultural sector has coincided with the rise in male retirement rates. Using a new, longitudinal data set I argue that, at the beginning of the twentieth century, men who were farmers were no less likely to retire than men who were not farmers. Past researchers, who examined cross-sectional data, were misled because retired farmers often migrated from their farms. The findings have implications for the secular decline of fertility.
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Suggested Citation

  • Costa Dora L., 1995. "Agricultural Decline and the Secular Rise in Male Retirement Rates," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 540-552, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:32:y:1995:i:4:p:540-552
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    Cited by:

    1. C. Lee, "undated". "Sectoral Shift and Labor Force Participation of Older Males in the United States, 1880-1940," CPE working papers 0011, University of Chicago - Centre for Population Economics.
    2. Tayatat Kanjanapipatkul, 2003. "Pensions and Labor Force Participation of Civil War Veterans," NBER Chapters,in: Health and Labor Force Participation over the Life Cycle: Evidence from the Past, pages 231-252 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Messina, Julian, 2006. "The role of product market regulations in the process of structural change," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(7), pages 1863-1890, October.
    4. Chulhee Lee, 2003. "Labor Market Status of Older Males in the United States, 1880-1940," NBER Working Papers 9550, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Susan B. Carter & Richard Sutch, 1995. "Fixing the Facts: Editing of the 1880 U.S. Census of Occupations with Implications for Long-Term Trends and the Sociology of Official Statistics," NBER Historical Working Papers 0074, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Messina, Julián, 2003. "Sectoral Structure and Entry Regulations," IZA Discussion Papers 747, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Lee, Chulhee, 1999. "Farm Value and Retirement of Farm Owners in Early-Twentieth-Century America," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 387-408, October.
    8. Brian Gratton & Myron P. Gutmann, 2010. "Emptying the Nest: Older Men in the United States, 1880-2000," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 36(2), pages 331-356.
    9. Susan B. Carter & Richard Sutch, 1995. "Myth of the Industrial Scrap Heap: A Revisionist View of Turn-of-the- Century American Retirement," NBER Historical Working Papers 0073, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N31 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies

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