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Employment Trends by Age in the United States: Why Are Older Workers Different?

Author

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  • Sudipto Banerjee

    (Employee Benefits Research Institute)

  • David Blau

    (The Ohio State University and IZA)

Abstract

Employment trends in the US were similar across age groups in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s: male employment rates declined or were flat at all ages and female employment rates increased or were flat at all ages. But employment trends diverged more recently, with employment rising at older ages and falling at younger ages, for both men and women. This paper seeks to explain this divergence. We estimate labor supply models for men and women, allowing differences in behavior across age groups. The results indicate that changes in the educational composition of the population and Social Security reforms can account for a modest proportion of the divergence. An additional factor for men was the increase in age at first marriage. However, much of the divergence remains unexplained.

Suggested Citation

  • Sudipto Banerjee & David Blau, 2013. "Employment Trends by Age in the United States: Why Are Older Workers Different?," Working Papers wp285, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp285
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    Cited by:

    1. Dudel, Christian & Myrskylä, Mikko, 2020. "Cohort trends in working life expectancies at age 50 in the United States: a register-based study using social security administration data," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 106256, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    2. Nicole Maestas & Kathleen Mullen & David Powell, 2013. "The Effect of Local Labor Demand Conditions on the Labor Supply Outcomes of Older Americans," Discussion Papers 13-014, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
    3. Regina T. Riphahn & Rebecca Schrader, 2017. "Institutional reforms and an incredible rise in old age employment," Working Papers 169, Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE).
    4. Pamela Giustinelli & Matthew D. Shapiro, 2018. "SeaTE: Subjective ex ante Treatment Effect of Health on Retirement," Working Papers wp382, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    5. Didier Blanchet & Antoine Bozio & Corinne Prost & Muriel Roger, 2018. "Explaining the Reversal in the Trend of Older Workers’ Employment Rates: The Case of France," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Programs and Retirement around the World: Working Longer, pages 87-115, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Tomaz Cajner & Javier Fernández-Blanco & Virginia Sánchez-Marcos, 2021. "Widening Health Gap in the U.S. Labor Force Participation at Older Ages," Working Papers 1298, Barcelona School of Economics.
    7. Nir Jaimovich, 2021. "Comment on "Shocks, Institutions, and Secular Changes in Employment of Older Individuals"," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2021, volume 36, pages 217-233, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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