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Workplace Characteristics and Employment of Older Workers


  • Chinhui Juhn
  • Kristin McCue


As aging of the U.S. population places increased demands on public programs such as Social Security, an important question is how long older Americans are willing and able to work before they retire from the labor force. While studies based on household surveys have provided information on the role of savings, health status, pension and health insurance coverage, there is relatively little information on how workplace and employer characteristics affect the employment of older workers. In this study we use linked employer-employee data to explore the relationship between the characteristics of jobs held at age 55 and early retirement. We focus on a sample of 63-year-olds drawn from the 2005-2008 American Community Survey. We match this sample to information on their earnings, employment, employers and coworkers drawn from the Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics data for the years in which they age from 55 to 63. We use employment status as reported in the ACS to split the sample into those who have retired by age 63 and those who continue to work. We then examine differences between early retirees and continuing workers in the characteristics of their employment at age 55, and at how these characteristics change as they approach age 63. We find that early retirees are more likely to be employed by larger employers at age 55 than are continuers. They work for employers with somewhat higher pay than do continuers, and are less likely to have young coworkers.

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  • Chinhui Juhn & Kristin McCue, 2012. "Workplace Characteristics and Employment of Older Workers," Working Papers 12-31, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:12-31

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Avner Ahituv & Joseph Zeira, 2011. "Technical Progress and Early Retirement," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(551), pages 171-193, March.
    3. Katharine G. Abraham & John Haltiwanger & Kristin Sandusky & James R. Spletzer, 2013. "Exploring Differences in Employment between Household and Establishment Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(S1), pages 129-172.
    4. Kristine M. Brown & Ron A. Laschever, 2012. "When They're Sixty-Four: Peer Effects and the Timing of Retirement," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(3), pages 90-115, July.
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