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Multistate Analysis: Tables of Working Life


  • F J Willekens

    (Mens en Ruimte and European Research Institute for Regional and Urban Planning, Froissartstraat 118, B-1040 Brussels, Belgium)


The demographer's approach to the study of the labor force includes the calculation of life tables for the active population. Although this tool is extensively used and many countries publish working-life tables, and although they rely on very restrictive assumptions, the technique for constructing such tables has not improved since its development about thirty years ago. This paper reviews the conventional method for the construction of working-life tables and proposes a multistate approach which does not rely on restrictive assumptions such as the unimodality of the labor-force participation curve. Instead of focusing on changes in stocks, the actual flows of people between active and inactive life are considered. The technique is compared with a similar procedure recently developed by Hoem and Fong. The increment–decrement table of working life serves as a basis for a multistate model for labor-force projection. The proposed model is compared with conventional approaches. The methods presented in this paper are illustrated using Danish data.

Suggested Citation

  • F J Willekens, 1980. "Multistate Analysis: Tables of Working Life," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 12(5), pages 563-588, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:envira:v:12:y:1980:i:5:p:563-588

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    Cited by:

    1. Mark Hayward & William Grady, 1990. "Work and Retirement Among a Cohort of Older Men in the United States, 1966–1983," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 27(3), pages 337-356, August.
    2. Nijkamp, Peter & Van Wissen, Leo & Rima, Annemarie, 1993. "A household life cycle model for residential relocation behaviour," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 35-53, March.
    3. Christian Dudel, 2017. "Expanding the Markov chain tool box: distributions of occupation times and waiting times," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2017-017, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    4. Robert Schoen, 2016. "Multistate Transfer Rate Estimation from Adjacent Populations," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 35(2), pages 217-240, April.

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