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Job Changes at Older Ages: Effects on Wages, Benefits, and Other Job Attributes

Author

Listed:
  • Richard W. Johnson
  • Janette Kawachi

    () (Urban Institute)

Abstract

One potential way to manage the rapidly growing costs of supporting older Americans is to increase labor supply at older ages. However, questions persist about the quality of available jobs. This study examines older Americans’ employment opportunities by studying job changes at older ages. Using data from the Health and Retirement Study, it compares wages, benefits, and other job attributes on new and former jobs for adults ages 45 to 75 who changed employers between 1986 and 2004. Because older people who choose to work after retiring voluntarily from long-term jobs may face different employment prospects than displaced older workers, the analysis considers how employment changes vary by the reasons workers give for job separations. Most people who switched employers at older ages moved to jobs that differed substantially from their previous jobs. The vast majority of older job changers moved into different occupations and industries. They were more likely to be self-employed, work part-time, and keep flexible hours at their new jobs than their old jobs. The new jobs generally involved less stress, less physical effort, and fewer managerial responsibilities. More older job changers enjoyed their new jobs than their old jobs. However, most older workers experienced sharp hourly wage reductions when they switched employers. They were also less likely to receive pension coverage or health benefits after they moved to new jobs. Although the findings do not raise concerns about the quality of post-retirement jobs, they suggest that older displaced workers face special challenges in the labor market.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard W. Johnson & Janette Kawachi, 2007. "Job Changes at Older Ages: Effects on Wages, Benefits, and Other Job Attributes," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2007-04, Center for Retirement Research, revised Feb 2007.
  • Handle: RePEc:crr:crrwps:wp2007-04
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    File URL: http://crr.bc.edu/working-papers/job-changes-at-older-ages-effects-on-wages-benefits-and-other-job-attributes/
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gordon B.T. Mermin & Richard W. Johnson & Dan Murphy, 2006. "Why Do Boomers Plan to Work So Long?," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2006-19, Center for Retirement Research, revised Nov 2006.
    2. Barbara A Butrica & Karen Elizabeth Smith & C. Eugene Steuerle, 2006. "Working for a Good Retirement," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2006-8, Center for Retirement Research, revised May 2006.
    3. Jacobson, Louis S & LaLonde, Robert J & Sullivan, Daniel G, 1993. "Earnings Losses of Displaced Workers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 685-709, September.
    4. Joanna N. Lahey, 2008. "Age, Women, and Hiring: An Experimental Study," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(1).
    5. Johnson, Richard W. & Steuerle, Eugene, 2004. "Promoting work at older ages: the role of hybrid pension plans in an aging population," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(03), pages 315-337, November.
    6. Ruhm, Christopher J, 1990. "Bridge Jobs and Partial Retirement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(4), pages 482-501, October.
    7. Farber, Henry S., 1999. "Mobility and stability: The dynamics of job change in labor markets," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 37, pages 2439-2483 Elsevier.
    8. Lazear, Edward P, 1979. "Why Is There Mandatory Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1261-1284, December.
    9. Edward P. Lazear & Robert L. Moore, 1984. "Incentives, Productivity, and Labor Contracts," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 99(2), pages 275-296.
    10. Alicia H. Munnell & Steven A. Sass & Mauricio Soto, 2006. "Employer Attitudes towards Older Workers: Survey Results," Work Opportunity Briefs wob_3, Center for Retirement Research.
    11. Richard W. Johnson & Gordon B.T. Mermin & Cori E. Uccello, 2006. "When The Nest Egg Cracks: Financial Consequences Of Health Problems, Marital Status Changes, And Job Layoffs At Older Ages," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2005-18, Center for Retirement Research.
    12. Chan, Sewin & Stevens, Ann Huff, 2001. "Job Loss and Employment Patterns of Older Workers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 484-521, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alicia H. Munnell & Steven A. Sass, 2007. "The Labor Supply of Older Americans," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2007-12, Center for Retirement Research, revised Jun 2007.
    2. repec:eee:hapoch:v1_237 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Fang, H., 2016. "Insurance Markets for the Elderly," Handbook of the Economics of Population Aging, Elsevier.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    labor supply; older ages; increase; employment; opportunities; wages; benefits; employer change; job changers;

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