Ageing and employability. Evidence from Belgian firm-level data
The Belgian population is ageing due to demographic changes, so does the workforce of firms active in the country. Such a trend is likely to remain for the foreseeable future. And it will be reinforced by the willingness of public authorities to expand employment among individuals aged 50 or more. But are older workers employable? The answer depends to a large extent on the gap between older workers’ productivity and their cost to employers. To address this question we use a production function that is modified to reflect the heterogeneity of labour with workers of different age potentially diverging in terms of marginal products. Using unique firm-level panel data we produce robust evidence on the causal effect of ageing on productivity (value added) and labour costs. We take advantage of the panel structure of data and resort to first-differences to deal with a potential time-invariant heterogeneity bias. Moreover, inspired by recent developments in the production function estimation literature, we also address the risk of simultaneity bias (endogeneity of firm’s age-mix choices in the short run) using (1) the structural approach suggested by Ackerberg et al. Structural identification of production functions. Department of Economics, UCLA, ( 2006 ), (2) alongside more traditional system-GMM methods (Blundell and Bond in J Econom 87:115–143, 1998 ) where lagged values of labour inputs are used as instruments. Our results indicate a negative impact of larger shares of older workers on productivity that is not compensated by lower labour costs, resulting in a lower productivity-labour costs gap. An increment of 10 %-points of their share causes a 1.3–2.8 % contraction of this gap. We conduct several robustness checks that largely confirm this result. This is not good news for older individuals’ employability and calls for interventions in the Belgian private economy aimed at combating the decline of productivity with age and/or better adapting labour costs to age-productivity profiles. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2013
If 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.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
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.:
- Blundell, Richard & Bond, Stephen, 1998.
"Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models,"
Journal of Econometrics,
Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 115-143, August.
- Richard Blundell & Steve Bond, 1995. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," IFS Working Papers W95/17, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
- R Blundell & Steven Bond, . "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data model," Economics Papers W14&104., Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
- Blundell, R. & Bond, S., 1995. "Initial Conditions and Moment Restrictions in Dynamic Panel Data Models," Economics Papers 104, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
- Ana Cardoso & Paulo Guimarães & José Varejão, 2011.
"Are Older Workers Worthy of Their Pay? An Empirical Investigation of Age-Productivity and Age-Wage Nexuses,"
Springer, vol. 159(2), pages 95-111, June.
- Cardoso, Ana Rute & Guimaraes, Paulo & Varejão, José, 2010. "Are Older Workers Worthy of Their Pay? An Empirical Investigation of Age-Productivity and Age-Wage Nexuses," IZA Discussion Papers 5121, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- repec:cor:louvrp:-2199 is not listed on IDEAS
- Grund, Christian & Westergård-Nielsen, Niels, 2005.
"Age Structure of the Workforce and Firm Performance,"
05-10, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
- Christian Grund & Niels Westergaard-Nielsen, 2008. "Age structure of the workforce and firm performance," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 29(5), pages 410-422, September.
- Grund, Christian & Westergård-Nielsen, Niels C., 2005. "Age Structure of the Workforce and Firm Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 1816, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Vincent Vandenberghe, 2011.
"Firm‐level Evidence on Gender Wage Discrimination in the Belgian Private Economy,"
CEIS, vol. 25(3), pages 330-349, 09.
- Vincent VANDENBERGHE, 2011. "Firm-level Evidence on Gender Wage Discrimination in the Belgian Private Economy," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2011016, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
- Mark Doms & Eric J. Bartelsman, 2000.
"Understanding Productivity: Lessons from Longitudinal Microdata,"
Journal of Economic Literature,
American Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 569-594, September.
- Eric J. Bartelsman & Mark Doms, 2000. "Understanding productivity: lessons from longitudinal microdata," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-19, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- Benoit Dostie, 2006.
"Wages, Productivity and Aging,"
Cahiers de recherche
- Benoit Dostie, 2006. "Wages, Productivity and Aging," Cahiers de recherche 06-15, HEC Montréal, Institut d'économie appliquée.
- Dostie, Benoit, 2006. "Wages, Productivity and Aging," IZA Discussion Papers 2496, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Benoit Dostie, 2007. "Wages, Productivity and Aging," CIRANO Working Papers 2007s-02, CIRANO.
- JOUSTEN, Alain & LEFEBVRE, Mathieu & PERELMAN, Sergio & PESTIEAU, Pierre, .
"The effects of early retirement on youth unemployment: the case of Belgium,"
CORE Discussion Papers RP
2199, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
- Alain Jousten & Mathieu Lefèbvre & Sergio Perelman & Pierre Pestieau, 2010. "The Effects of Early Retirement on Youth Unemployment: The Case of Belgium," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Programs and Retirement around the World: The Relationship to Youth Employment, pages 47-76 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Pierre Pestieau & Mathieu LefÃ¨bvre & Alain Jousten & Sergio Perelman, 2008. "The Effects of Early Retirementon Youth Unemployment; The Case of Belgium," IMF Working Papers 08/30, International Monetary Fund.
- Adriaan Kalwij & Frederic Vermeulen, 2008. "Health and labour force participation of older people in Europe: What do objective health indicators add to the analysis?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(5), pages 619-638.
- Saint-Paul, Gilles, 2009.
"Does the Welfare State Make Older Workers Unemployable?,"
IZA Discussion Papers
4440, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Saint-Paul, Gilles, 2009. "Does the Welfare State Make Older Workers Unemployable?," IDEI Working Papers 569, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
- Saint-Paul, Gilles, 2009. "Does the welfare state make older workers unemployable?," CEPR Discussion Papers 7490, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Saint-Paul, Gilles, 2009. "Does the Welfare State Make Older Workers Unemployable?," TSE Working Papers 09-066, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
- Saint-Paul, Gilles, 2010. "Does the welfare state make older workers unemployable?," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 1003, CEPREMAP.
- Mitchell, Olivia S & Fields, Gary S, 1984.
"The Economics of Retirement Behavior,"
Journal of Labor Economics,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(1), pages 84-105, January.
- 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).
- Anna Cristina D'Addio & Mark Keese & Edward Whitehouse, 2010. "Population ageing and labour markets," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(4), pages 613-635, Winter.
- Patrick Aubert & Bruno Crépon, 2003. "La productivité des salariés âgés : une tentative d'estimation," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 368(1), pages 95-119.
- Thierry Lallemand & François Rycx, 2009.
"Are young and old workers harmful for firm productivity?,"
DULBEA Working Papers
09-02.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
- Lallemand, Thierry & Rycx, Francois, 2009. "Are Young and Old Workers Harmful for Firm Productivity?," IZA Discussion Papers 3938, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Thierry Lallemand & François Rycx, 2009. "Are Young and Old WorkersS Harmful for Firm Productivity ?," Working Papers CEB 09-002.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
- Alessandra Cataldi & Stephan Kampelmann & François Rycx, 2011. "Productivity-Wage Gaps Among Age Groups: Does the ICT Environment Matter?," De Economist, Springer, vol. 159(2), pages 193-221, June.
- Manuel Arellano, 2003.
"Discrete choices with panel data,"
Fundación SEPI, vol. 27(3), pages 423-458, September.
- Malmberg, Bo & Lindh, Thomas & Halvarsson, Max, 2005. "Productivity consequences of workforce ageing - Stagnation or a Horndal effect?," Arbetsrapport 2005:17, Institute for Futures Studies.
- James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2003.
"Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables,"
Review of Economic Studies,
Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(2), pages 317-341, 04.
- James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2000. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," NBER Working Papers 7819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Bart van Ark & Erik Monnikhof, 1996. "Size Distribution of Output and Employment: A Data Set for Manufacturing Industries in Five OECD Countries, 1960s-1990," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 166, OECD Publishing.
- Judith K. Hellerstein & David Neumark & Kenneth R. Troske, 1996.
"Wages, Productivity, and Worker Characteristics: Evidence from Plant-Level Production Functions and Wage Equations,"
NBER Working Papers
5626, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Hellerstein, Judith K & Neumark, David & Troske, Kenneth R, 1999. "Wages, Productivity, and Worker Characteristics: Evidence from Plant-Level Production Functions and Wage Equations," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(3), pages 409-46, July.
- Chad Syverson, 2011.
"What Determines Productivity?,"
Journal of Economic Literature,
American Economic Association, vol. 49(2), pages 326-65, June.
- Pozzebon, Silvana & Mitchell, Olivia S, 1989.
"Married Women's Retirement Behavior,"
Journal of Population Economics,
Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 39-53.
- Jan Ours & Lenny Stoeldraijer, 2011. "Age, Wage and Productivity in Dutch Manufacturing," De Economist, Springer, vol. 159(2), pages 113-137, June.
- Judith K. Hellerstein & David Neumark, 1995. "Are Earnings Profiles Steeper Than Productivity Profiles? Evidence from Israeli Firm-Level Data," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(1), pages 89-112.
- Ackerberg, Daniel & Caves, Kevin & Frazer, Garth, 2006. "Structural identification of production functions," MPRA Paper 38349, University Library of Munich, Germany.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:jproda:v:40:y:2013:i:1:p:111-136. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla)or (Christopher F. Baum)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.