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Senior activity rate, retirement incentives, and labor relations


  • Blake, Hélène
  • Sangnier, Marc


In order to face the aging of their populations governments of developed countries reformed their retirement systems during the last two decades, by discouraging early retirement and increasing incentives to work for older workers. Senior participation rates to the labor force not only differ strikingly in level from one country to another, they also differ in their reaction to retirement incentives set by governments. This paper highlights how disutility to work can influence the effectiveness of such reforms. The authors build a highly stylized model according to which the reaction of senior activity rate to monetary incentives to work depends on the properties of the specific distribution of working conditions in the country. Second, taking the quality of labor relations as a proxy for working conditions, the authors show empirically that aggregate reactions to retirement incentives depend on the distribution of labor relations at country level. They use panel data for nineteen OECD countries from 1980 to 2004. They show that the elasticity of senior male labor force participation rate to retirement incentives is stronger in countries with better and more homogeneously distributed labor relations.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:ifweej:20118

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Giavazzi, Francesco & Schiantarelli, Fabio & Serafinelli, Michel, 2009. "Culture, Policies and Labor Market Outcomes," CEPR Discussion Papers 7536, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Romain Duval, 2004. "Retirement Behaviour in OECD Countries: Impact of Old-Age Pension Schemes and other Social Transfer Programmes," OECD Economic Studies, OECD Publishing, vol. 2003(2), pages 7-50.
    3. Liebman, Jeffrey B. & Luttmer, Erzo F.P. & Seif, David G., 2009. "Labor supply responses to marginal Social Security benefits: Evidence from discontinuities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(11-12), pages 1208-1223, December.
    4. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & Pablo Querubin & James A. Robinson, 2008. "When Does Policy Reform Work? The Case of Central Bank Independence," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 39(1 (Spring), pages 351-429.
    5. Philippe Aghion & Yann Algan & Pierre Cahuc, 2008. "Can Policy Interact with Culture? Minimum Wage and the Quality of Labor Relations," Working Papers hal-00972820, HAL.
    6. Philippe Aghion & Yann Algan & Pierre Cahuc, 2011. "Civil Society And The State: The Interplay Between Cooperation And Minimum Wage Regulation," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 3-42, February.
    7. Olivier Blanchard & Thomas Philippon, 2004. "The Quality of Labor Relations and Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 10590, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Cheron, Arnaud & Khaskhoussi, Fouad & Khaskhoussi, Tarek & Langot, François, 2004. "Voluntary and involuntary retirement decision : does real wage rigidity affects the effectiveness of pension reforms ?," MPRA Paper 9119, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Romain Duval, 2003. "The Retirement Effects of Old-Age Pension and Early Retirement Schemes in OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 370, OECD Publishing.
    10. Galasso, Vincenzo & Profeta, Paola, 2002. "The political economy of social security: a survey," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 1-29, March.
    11. 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).
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    1. repec:bla:kyklos:v:70:y:2017:i:2:p:163-188 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Early retirement incentives; labor relations; senior activity rate;

    JEL classification:

    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General


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