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The Labor Supply and Retirement Behavior of China's Older Workers and Elderly in Comparative Perspective

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  • Giles, John T.

    () (World Bank)

  • Wang, Dewen

    () (World Bank)

  • Cai, Wei

    (World Bank)

Abstract

This paper highlights the employment patterns of China’s over-45 population and, for perspective, places them in the context of work and retirement patterns in Indonesia, Korea, the United States, and the United Kingdom. As is common in many developing countries, China can be characterized as having two retirement systems: a formal system, under which urban employees receive generous pensions and face mandatory retirement by age 60, and an informal system, under which rural residents and individuals in the informal sector rely on family support in old age and have much longer working lives. Gender differences in age of exit from work are shown to be much greater in urban China than in rural areas, and also greater than observed in Korea and Indonesia. Descriptive evidence is presented suggesting that pension eligible workers are far more likely to cease productive activity at a relatively young age. A strong relationship between health status and labor supply in rural areas is observed, indicating the potential role that improvements in access to health care may play in extending working lives and also providing some basis for a common perception that older rural residents tend to work as long as they are physically capable. The paper concludes with a discussion of measures that may facilitate longer working lives as China’s population ages.

Suggested Citation

  • Giles, John T. & Wang, Dewen & Cai, Wei, 2011. "The Labor Supply and Retirement Behavior of China's Older Workers and Elderly in Comparative Perspective," IZA Discussion Papers 6088, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6088
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Chen, Zeyuan & Bengtsson, Tommy & Helgertz, Jonas, 2015. "Labor Supply Responses to New Rural Pension Insurances in China: A Regression Discontinuity Approach," Lund Papers in Economic History 139, Lund University, Department of Economic History.
    2. Lin, Vera Shanshan & Mao, Rui & Song, Haiyan, 2015. "Tourism expenditure patterns in China," Annals of Tourism Research, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 100-117.
    3. World Bank, 2012. "Toward Gender Equality in East Asia and the Pacific : A Companion to the World Development Report," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 12598.
    4. Sen Ma & Fangqi Wen, 2016. "Who Coresides With Parents? An Analysis Based on Sibling Comparative Advantage," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(3), pages 623-647, June.
    5. Martha Alicia Yánez Contreras & Cristian David Maldonado Pedroza & Katherin Paola Del Risco Serje, 2016. "Participación laboral de la población de 60 años de edad o más en Colombia," REVISTA DE ECONOMÍA DEL CARIBE 014790, UNIVERSIDAD DEL NORTE.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    China; pensions; labor supply; population aging; retirement; Indonesia; Korea;

    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
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries

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