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Technological Change and the Careers of Older Workers

  • Ann P. Bartel
  • Nachum Sicherman

Recent research has shown that technological change has important labor market implications and in this paper we demonstrate one on the avenues through which this occurs. According to the theory of human capital, technological chanqe will influence the retirement decisions of older workers in two ways. First, workers in industries that are characterized by high rates of technological chanqe will have later retirement ages because these industries require larger amounts of on-the-job training. Second, an unexpected change in the industry's rate of technological change will induce older workers to retire sooner because the required amount of retraining will be an unattractive investment. We matched time-series data on rates of technological change and required amounts of training in 35 industrial sectors with data from the NLS Older Men Survey to test these hypotheses. Our results strongly support both hypotheses.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3433.

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Date of creation: Sep 1990
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Publication status: published as Journal of Labor Economics, Vol. 11, No. 1, Part 1, pp. 162-183 (1993).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3433
Note: LS
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  1. Edward P. Lazear, 1982. "Severance Pay, Pensions, and Efficient Mobility," NBER Working Papers 0854, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Alan Blinder & Yoram Weiss, 1974. "Human Capital and Labor Supply: A Synthesis," Working Papers 435, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  3. Edward P. Lazear, 1983. "Pensions as Severance Pay," NBER Chapters, in: Financial Aspects of the United States Pension System, pages 57-90 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Bartel, Ann P & Lichtenberg, Frank R, 1987. "The Comparative Advantage of Educated Workers in Implementing New Technology," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(1), pages 1-11, February.
  5. Mincer, Jacob & Higuchi, Yoshio, 1988. "Wage structures and labor turnover in the United States and Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 97-133, June.
  6. Olivia S. Mitchell & Gary S. Fields, 1983. "The Economics of Retirement Behavior," NBER Working Papers 1128, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Yoram Ben-Porath, 1967. "The Production of Human Capital and the Life Cycle of Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 352.
  8. Zvi Bodie & John B. Shoven, 1983. "Financial Aspects of the United States Pension System," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bodi83-1, October.
  9. Ann P. Bartel, 1989. "Formal Employee Training Programs and Their Impact on Labor Produc- tivity: Evidence from a Human Resources Survey," NBER Working Papers 3026, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. McKinley L. Blackburn & David E. Bloom, 1987. "The Effects of Technological Change on Earnings and Income Inequality inthe United States," NBER Working Papers 2337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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