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Age and Individual Productivity: A Literature Survey

  • Vegard Skirbekk
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    This article surveys supervisors' ratings, analyses of piece-rates and employer-employee datasets as well as other approaches used to estimate how individual productivity varies with age. The causes of productivity variations over the life cycle are addressed with an emphasis on how cognitive abilities affect labour market performance. Earnings tend to increase until relative late in the working life, while most evidence suggests that individuals'job performance tends to increase in the first few years of one's entry into the labour market, before it stabilises and often decreases towards the end of one's career. Productivity reductions at older ages are particularly strong when problem solving, learning and speed are important, while older individuals maintain a relatively high productivity level in work tasks where experience and verbal abilities matter more.

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    File URL: http://epub.oeaw.ac.at/0xc1aa500d_0x00062025
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    Article provided by Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna in its journal Vienna Yearbook of Population Research.

    Volume (Year): 2 (2004)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 133-154

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    Handle: RePEc:vid:yearbk:v:2:y:2004:i:1:p:133-154
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.oeaw.ac.at/vid/

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    1. Hutchens, Robert M, 1989. "Seniority, Wages and Productivity: A Turbulent Decade," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 49-64, Fall.
    2. John H. Tyler & Richard J. Murnane & John B. Willett, 2000. "Do the Cognitive Skills of School Dropouts Matter in the Labor Market?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(4), pages 748-754.
    3. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-42, June.
    4. Richard J. Murnane & John B. Willett & Frank Levy, 1995. "The Growing Importance of Cognitive Skills in Wage Determination," NBER Working Papers 5076, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Janet Currie & Duncan Thomas, 1999. "Early Test Scores, Socioeconomic Status and Future Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 6943, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Lazear, Edward P & Moore, Robert L, 1984. "Incentives, Productivity, and Labor Contracts," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 99(2), pages 275-96, May.
    7. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2003. "The Skill Content Of Recent Technological Change: An Empirical Exploration," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1279-1333, November.
    8. Lazear, Edward P, 1979. "Why Is There Mandatory Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1261-84, December.
    9. James L. Medoff & Katharine G. Abraham, 1981. "Are Those Paid More Really More Productive? The Case of Experience," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 16(2), pages 186-216.
    10. Richard J. Murnane & John B. Willett & Yves Duhaldeborde & John H. Tyler, 2000. "How important are the cognitive skills of teenagers in predicting subsequent earnings?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(4), pages 547-568.
    11. Daniel Rodriguez & Madeline Zavodny, 2003. "Changes in the age and education profile of displaced workers," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(3), pages 498-510, April.
    12. 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.
    13. H. M. Boot, 1995. "How skilled were Lancashire cotton factory workers in 1833?," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 48(2), pages 283-303, 05.
    14. Edward P. Lazear, 1990. "Adjusting to an Aging Labor Force," NBER Chapters, in: Issues in the Economics of Aging, pages 287-316 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Sharon M. Oster & Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1998. "Aging And Productivity Among Economists," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(1), pages 154-156, February.
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