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Old-age Labor Force Participation in Germany: What Explains the Trend Reversal among Older Men? And What the Steady Increase among Women?

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  • Axel Börsch-Supan
  • Irene Ferrari

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to illustrate for Germany the factors that may explain the U-shaped pattern of older men’s labor force participation - from a long declining trend that began in the early 1970s to an increasing trend starting from the late 1990s - and at the same time the steady increase in older women’s labor force participation. In a first step, we provide graphical evidence of the trends of various variables which may be relevant, with the aim of investigating the presence or absence of common patterns between these factors and labor force participation. Then, through a decomposition analysis, we provide an empirical estimate of the contribution of some of these factors to the overall evolution of labor force participation. Our preliminary conclusion is that much of the change in the trend of older men’s labor force participation may be explained by changes in public pension regulations, and in particular by the phasing in of actuarial adjustments for early retirement. Regarding women, whether public pension rules play a role is unclear. Most probably, the secular change of women’s role in society is the main driver of the steadily increasing labor force participation among German women.

Suggested Citation

  • Axel Börsch-Supan & Irene Ferrari, 2017. "Old-age Labor Force Participation in Germany: What Explains the Trend Reversal among Older Men? And What the Steady Increase among Women?," NBER Working Papers 24044, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24044
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Petia Topalova & Mr. Francesco Grigoli & Zsoka Koczan, 2018. "Drivers of Labor Force Participation in Advanced Economies: Macro and Micro Evidence," IMF Working Papers 2018/150, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Christian Dudel & Elke Loichinger & Sebastian Klüsener & Harun Sulak & Mikko Myrskylä, 2021. "The extension of late working life in Germany: trends, inequalities, and the East-West divide," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2021-018, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    3. Axel H. Börsch-Supan & Johannes Rausch & Nicolas Goll, 2020. "Social Security Reforms and the Changing Retirement Behavior in Germany," NBER Working Papers 27518, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Axel Börsch-Supan & Johannes Rausch & Nicolas Goll, 2019. "Social Security Reforms and the Changing Retirement Behavior in Germany," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Programs and Retirement around the World: Reforms and Retirement Incentives, pages 175-226, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Pedron, Sara & Maier, Werner & Peters, Annette & Linkohr, Birgit & Meisinger, Christine & Rathmann, Wolfgang & Eibich, Peter & Schwettmann, Lars, 2020. "The effect of retirement on biomedical and behavioral risk factors for cardiovascular and metabolic disease," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 38(C).

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies

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