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Barriers to Later Retirement: Increases in the Full Retirement Age, Age Discrimination, and the Physical Challenges of Work

  • David Neumark

    (University of California, Irvine)

  • Joanne Song

    (University of California, Irvine)

Policy changes intended to delay retirements of older workers and extend their work lives may run up against demand-side barriers from age discrimination, and supply-side barriers owing to rising physical challenges of work as people age. We study three questions. How do age discrimination protections affect labor market transitions of workers encouraged to work longer by increases in Social Security’s Full Retirement Age (FRA)? How do physical challenges at work influence employment transitions of older workers for whom public policy is trying to delay retirement? And what role do stronger age discrimination protections play in helping workers facing physical challenges at work? We find that stronger state age discrimination protections increase employment and hiring for older workers caught by increases in the FRA. We also find that physical challenges pose a barrier to extending work lives, although some workers with physically-demanding jobs are able to mitigate these demands -- either at new jobs or with the same employer. However, for the most part stronger age discrimination protections do not appear to contribute to older workers’ ability to mitigate physical challenges at work.

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File URL: http://www.mrrc.isr.umich.edu/publications/Papers/pdf/wp265.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center in its series Working Papers with number wp265.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp265
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  1. Kathleen McGarry, 2004. "Health and Retirement: Do Changes in Health Affect Retirement Expectations?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(3).
  2. Bloch, Farrell, 1994. "Antidiscrimination Law and Minority Employment," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 0, number 9780226059839.
  3. David Neumark & Joanne Song, 2011. "Do Stronger Age Discrimination Laws Make Social Security Reforms More Effective?," Working Papers wp249, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  4. Joanna Lahey, 2006. "State Age Protection Laws and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act," NBER Working Papers 12048, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Kevin E. Cahill & Michael D. Giandrea & Joseph F. Quinn, 2005. "Are Traditional Retirements a Thing of the Past? New Evidence on Retirement Patterns and Bridge Jobs," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 626, Boston College Department of Economics.
  6. Posner, Richard A., 1995. "Aging and Old Age," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226675664.
  7. Joanna N. Lahey, 2008. "Age, Women, and Hiring: An Experimental Study," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(1).
  8. Scott J. Adams, 2002. "Passed Over for Promotion Because of Age: An Empirical Analysis of the Consequences," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 23(3), pages 447-461, July.
  9. Robert Hutchens, 1988. "Do job opportunities decline with age?," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 42(1), pages 89-99, October.
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