Older Women: Pushed into Retirement by the Baby Boomers?
Older women's patterns of labor supply over the past forty years have differed markedly from those of younger women. Their labor force participation declined sharply during a period of rapid increase for younger women, and then increased significantly while younger women's plateaued and even declined. But there has been an apparent correspondence between the pattern of retirement among women aged 55-69, and the proportion of workers aged 25-34 working part-year and/or part-time. The latter was an effect of overcrowding among the baby boomers as they moved through the labor market. The former is hypothesized here to be a function of the increasing difficulty older women experienced in obtaining "bridge jobs" – part-year and/or part-time – between career and retirement. It has been demonstrated in earlier studies that older women – especially those in lower-wage jobs – often seek such bridge jobs before retirement. And in many cases these bridge jobs are not in the same industry or even occupation as the career job, leading one to suspect that in many cases there might be little transfer of skill or human capital. If this is the case, then the older workers would at least to some extent be in direct competition with younger workers for these jobs. Given difficulty in finding bridge jobs, a higher proportion of older workers might choose to enter retirement directly from career jobs, skipping the bridge jobs. A relative cohort size measure – the number of 25-34 year old women working part-year and/or part-time, relative to the number of older women, at the state level – has been shown here to be highly significant – both statistically and substantively – in explaining changes in older women's annual hours worked, labor force participation, and propensity to retire. In general terms, relative cohort size can be said to have generated between 15-30% of the observed changes in these variables, with the strongest effects being on the propensity to claim Social Security benefits. Somewhat stronger effects were found for older men, in a companion to this study.
|Date of creation:||Dec 2009|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany|
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page: http://www.iza.org
|Order Information:|| Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany|
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Marjorie Honig, 1985. "Partial Retirement among Women," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 20(4), pages 613-621.
- Diane J. Macunovich, 1999.
"The fortunes of one's birth: Relative cohort size and the youth labor market in the United States,"
Journal of Population Economics,
Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 12(2), pages 215-272.
- Diane Macunovich, 1999. "The Fortune of One's Birth: Relative Cohort Size and the Youth Labor Market in the United States," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 6, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
- Christopher J. Ruhm, 1995. "Secular Changes in the Work and Retirement Patterns of Older Men," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(2), pages 362-385.
- Finis Welch, 1979. "Effects of Cohort Size on Earnings: The Baby Boom Babies' Financial Bust," UCLA Economics Working Papers 146, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Krueger, Alan B & Pischke, Jorn-Steffen, 1992. "The Effect of Social Security on Labor Supply: A Cohort Analysis of the Notch Generation," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 10(4), pages 412-437, October.
- Alan B. Krueger & Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 1989. "The Effect of Social Security on Labor Supply: A Cohort Analysis of the Notch Generation," Working Papers 635, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
- Alan B. Krueger & Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 1991. "The Effect of Social Security on Labor Supply: A Cohort Analysis of the Notch Generation," NBER Working Papers 3699, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Ruhm, Christopher J, 1990. "Bridge Jobs and Partial Retirement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(4), pages 482-501, October.
- Michael D. Giandrea & Kevin E. Cahill & Joseph F. Quinn, Ph.D., 2008. "Self-Employment Transitions among Older American Workers with Career Jobs," Working Papers 418, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Michael D. Giandrea & Kevin E. Cahill & Joseph F. Quinn, 2008. "Self-Employment Transitions among Older American Workers with Career Jobs," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 684, Boston College Department of Economics.
- 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.
- Macunovich, Diane J., 2009. "Older Men: Pushed into Retirement by the Baby Boomers?," IZA Discussion Papers 4652, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Lynn A. Karoly & Jeannette A. Rogowski, 1994. "The Effect of Access to Post-Retirement Health Insurance on the Decision to Retire Early," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 48(1), pages 103-123, October.
- Welch, Finis, 1979. "Effects of Cohort Size on Earnings: The Baby Boom Babies' Financial Bust," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 65-97, October.
- Stephen Rubb, 2002. "US Social Security rules in the 1990s: a natural experiment in myopic and farsighted behaviour," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(10), pages 637-640.
- Kevin E. Cahill & Michael D. Giandrea & Joseph F. Quinn, 2006. "A Micro-level Analysis of Recent Increases in Labor Force Participation among Older Workers," Working Papers 400, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Kevin E. Cahill & Michael D. Giandrea & Joseph F. Quinn, 2008. "A Micro-Level Analysis of Recent Increases in Labor Force Participation Among Older Workers," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2008-8, Center for Retirement Research, revised Feb 2008.