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Labor Force Participation of the Elderly in Japan

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  • Takashi Oshio
  • Emiko Usui
  • Satoshi Shimizutani

Abstract

Japan experienced increases in labor force participation (LFP) of the elderly in recent years, as have other advanced countries. In the present study, we overview the employment trend of the elderly in Japan, and examine what factors have contributed to its increase since the early 2000s. Improved health and longevity, increasing education levels, and a shift towards less physically demanding jobs have allowed the elderly to stay longer in the labor force. However, elderly employment rebound and its timing are more closely linked to changes in social security incentives, especially increases in the eligibility age for public pension benefits. More broadly, reduced generosity in social security programs since the mid-1980s has been a key driver of the long-term trend change in elderly employment. A series of social security reforms have helped utilize the elderly’s potential work capacity, accumulated due to improving health conditions and other favorable factors for LFP in the elderly.

Suggested Citation

  • Takashi Oshio & Emiko Usui & Satoshi Shimizutani, 2018. "Labor Force Participation of the Elderly in Japan," NBER Working Papers 24614, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24614
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. David A. Wise, 2012. "Social Security Programs and Retirement around the World: Historical Trends in Mortality and Health, Employment, and Disability Insurance Participation and Reforms," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number wise11-1, July.
    2. Naohiro Yashiro & Takashi Oshio, 1999. "Social Security and Retirement in Japan," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security and Retirement around the World, pages 239-267, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Takashi Oshio & Emiko Usui & Satoshi Shimizutani, 2018. "Labor Force Participation of the Elderly in Japan," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Programs and Retirement around the World: Working Longer, pages 163-178, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Jonathan Gruber & David A. Wise, 1999. "Social Security and Retirement around the World," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number grub99-1, July.
    5. Gary V. Engelhardt & Jonathan Gruber, 2004. "Social Security and the Evolution of Elderly Poverty," NBER Working Papers 10466, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Emiko Usui & Satoshi Shimizutani & Takashi Oshio, 2017. "Health Capacity to Work at Older Ages: Evidence from Japan," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Programs and Retirement around the World: The Capacity to Work at Older Ages, pages 219-241, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Emiko Usui & Satoshi Shimizutani & Takashi Oshio, 2016. "Are Japanese Men of Pensionable Age Underemployed or Overemployed?," The Japanese Economic Review, Springer, vol. 67(2), pages 150-168, June.
    2. Matsukura, Rikiya & Shimizutani, Satoshi & Mitsuyama, Nahoko & Lee, Sang-Hyop & Ogawa, Naohiro, 2018. "Untapped work capacity among old persons and their potential contributions to the “silver dividend” in Japan," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 12(C), pages 236-249.
    3. Takashi Oshio & Emiko Usui & Satoshi Shimizutani, 2018. "Labor Force Participation of the Elderly in Japan," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Programs and Retirement around the World: Working Longer, pages 163-178, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Oshio, Takashi & Shimizutani, Satoshi, 2019. "Health capacity to work and its long-term trend among the Japanese elderly," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 76-86.
    5. Dean Hyslop & Amy Rice & Hayden Skilling, 2019. "Understanding labour market developments in New Zealand, 1986-2017," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Discussion Paper Series DP2019/02, Reserve Bank of New Zealand.
    6. OSHIO Takashi, 2018. "Health Capacity to Work and Its Long-term Trend among the Japanese Elderly," Discussion papers 18079, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies

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