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The Impact of Hours Flexibility on Career Employment, Bridge Jobs, and the Timing of Retirement

Author

Listed:
  • Kevin E. Cahill

    () (Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College)

  • Michael D. Giandrea

    () (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

  • Joseph F. Quinn

    () (Boston College)

Abstract

To what extent does hours flexibility in career employment impact the retirement process? Workplace flexibility policies have the potential to improve both the welfare of employees and the business outcomes of employers. These policies, and hours flexibility in particular for older Americans, have also been touted as a way to reduce turnover. For older Americans, reductions in turnover could mean more years in career employment, fewer years in bridge employment, and little or no impact on the timing of retirement. Alternatively, hours flexibility in career employment could lead to longer working lives and delayed retirements. The distinction between the two outcomes is important if hours flexibility policies, such as phased retirement, are to be considered an option for alleviating the strains of an aging society. This paper describes how hours flexibility in career employment impacts the retirement patterns of older Americans. We use data on three cohorts of older Americans from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a large nationally-representative dataset that began in 1992. We explore the extent to which hours flexibility arrangements are available and utilized in career employment and explore the extent to which such arrangements impact job transitions later in life. We find that bridge job prevalence is higher among those with access to hours flexibility in career employment compared to those without hours flexibility. Further, while we find mixed evidence that hours flexibility extends time in career employment, we do find that hours flexibility in career employment is associated with longer tenure on bridge jobs. Taken together these results suggest that hours flexibility in career employment is associated with extended work lives, particularly in post-career employment.

Suggested Citation

  • Kevin E. Cahill & Michael D. Giandrea & Joseph F. Quinn, 2014. "The Impact of Hours Flexibility on Career Employment, Bridge Jobs, and the Timing of Retirement," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 880, Boston College Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:880
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Anne C. Gielen, 2009. "Working hours flexibility and older workers' labor supply," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(2), pages 240-274, April.
    2. Daniel Aaronson & Eric French, 2004. "The Effect of Part-Time Work on Wages: Evidence from the Social Security Rules," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 329-352, April.
    3. Tunga Kantarci & Arthur Soest, 2008. "Gradual Retirement: Preferences and Limitations," De Economist, Springer, vol. 156(2), pages 113-144, June.
    4. F. Thomas Juster & Richard Suzman, 1995. " An Overview of the Health and Retirement Study," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30, pages s7-s56.
    5. Ruhm, Christopher J, 1990. "Bridge Jobs and Partial Retirement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(4), pages 482-501, October.
    6. Kevin E. Cahill & Michael D. Giandrea & Joseph F. Quinn, 2013. "New Evidence on Self-Employment Transitions Among Older Americans with Career Jobs," Working Papers 463, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
    7. Zissimopoulos, Julie M. & Karoly, Lynn A., 2007. "Transitions to self-employment at older ages: The role of wealth, health, health insurance and other factors," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 269-295, April.
    8. Michael D. Giandrea & Kevin E. Cahill & Joseph F. Quinn, 2007. "Bridge Jobs: A Comparison across Cohorts," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 670, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 22 Dec 2008.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economics of Aging; Partial Retirement; Gradual Retirement;

    JEL classification:

    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions

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