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Can Social Security Explain Trends in Labor Force Participation of Older Men in the United States?

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  • David M. Blau
  • Ryan M. Goodstein

Abstract

After a long decline, the Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) of older men in the United States leveled off in the 1980s, and began to increase in the late 1990s. We examine how changes in Social Security rules affected these trends. We attribute only a small portion of the decline from the 1960s–80s to the increasing generosity of Social Security over this period. Increases in the Full Retirement Age and the Delayed Retirement Credit explain one quarter to one half of the recent increase in the LFPR. Increasing educational attainment and increasing LFPR of married women also contributed to the recent rise.

Suggested Citation

  • David M. Blau & Ryan M. Goodstein, 2010. "Can Social Security Explain Trends in Labor Force Participation of Older Men in the United States?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(2).
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:45:y:2010:i2:p328-363
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Ignacio Álvarez & Natalia da Silva & Álvaro Forteza & Ianina Rossi, 2012. "Incentivos y patrones de retiro en Uruguay," Estudios Económicos, El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Económicos, vol. 27(2), pages 219-271.
    3. Noelia Bernal & Frederic Vermeulen, 2014. "The Impact of an Increase in the Legal Retirement Age on the Effective Retirement Age," De Economist, Springer, vol. 162(2), pages 115-145, June.
    4. Luc Behaghel & David M. Blau, 2012. "Framing Social Security Reform: Behavioral Responses to Changes in the Full Retirement Age," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 41-67, November.
    5. Blake, Hélène & Sangnier, Marc, 2011. "Senior activity rate, retirement incentives, and labor relations," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 5, pages 1-32.
    6. Bernal Lobato, N., 2014. "Essays in applied microeconomics," Other publications TiSEM 9b638b3d-2f83-452a-b2c8-c, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    7. Jeremy W Bray & Brooks Depro & Dorren McMahon & Marion Siegle & Lee Mobley, 2016. "Disconnected Geography: A Spatial Analysis of Disconnected Youth in the United States," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 317-342, September.
    8. Ning, Manxiu & Gong, Jinquan & Zheng, Xuhui & Zhuang, Jun, 2016. "Does New Rural Pension Scheme decrease elderly labor supply? Evidence from CHARLS," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 315-330.
    9. Stephanie Aaronson & Tomaz Cajner & Bruce Fallick & Felix Galbis-Reig & Christopher Smith & William Wascher, 2014. "Labor Force Participation: Recent Developments and Future Prospects," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 45(2 (Fall)), pages 197-275.
    10. Johan Fourie, 2012. "The wealth of the Cape Colony: Measurements from probate inventories," Working Papers 268, Economic Research Southern Africa.
    11. Aylit Tina Romm & Martha Wolny, 2012. "The Impact of Later Retirement Ages on Aggregate Household Savings and Saving Rates: An Analysis of OECD Countries," Working Papers 269, Economic Research Southern Africa.
    12. Paweł Strzelecki & Joanna Tyrowicz, 2015. "Crowding (out) the retirees? RDD application to raising effective retirement age in Poland," Working Papers 2015-10, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.
    13. Luc Behaghel & David M. Blau, 2010. "Framing social security reform: Behavioral responses to changes in the full retirement age," Working Papers halshs-00564950, HAL.
    14. Emma Aguila, 2012. "Male Labor Force Participation and Social Security in Mexico," Working Papers WR-910, RAND Corporation.
    15. Frank van Erp & Niels Vermeer & Daniël van Vuuren, 2013. "Non-financial determinants of retirement," CPB Discussion Paper 243, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    16. Lorenzo Burlon & Montserrat Vilalta-Bufí, 2016. "A new look at technical progress and early retirement," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-39, December.
    17. Staubli, Stefan & Lalive, Rafael, 2016. "Ho to Delay Labor Market Exit and Pension Claiming?," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145550, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
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    19. Lorenzo Burlon & Montserrat Vilalta-Buf�, 2014. "Technical progress, retraining cost and early retirement," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 963, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    20. Nicole Maestas & Julie Zissimopoulos, 2010. "How Longer Work Lives Ease the Crunch of Population Aging," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, pages 139-160.
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    22. Anders Stenberg & Xavier Luna & Olle Westerlund, 2014. "Does Formal Education for Older Workers Increase Earnings? — Evidence Based on Rich Data and Long-term Follow-up," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 28(2), pages 163-189, June.
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