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Race Differences in Labor Force Attachment and Disability Status

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  • John Bound
  • Michael Schoenbaum
  • Timothy Waidmann

Abstract

We use the first wave of the Health and Retirement Survey to study the effect of health on the labor force activity of Black and White men and women in their 50s. The evidence we present confirms the notion that health is an extremely important determinant of early labor force exit. Our estimates suggest that health differences between Blacks and Whites can account for most of the racial gap in labor force attachment for men. For women, where participation rates are comparable, our estimates imply that Black women would be substantially more likely to work than White women were it not for the marked health differences. We also find for both men and women that poor health has a substantially larger effect on labor force behavior for Blacks. The evidence suggests that these differences result from Black/White differences in access to the resources necessary to retire.

Suggested Citation

  • John Bound & Michael Schoenbaum & Timothy Waidmann, 1996. "Race Differences in Labor Force Attachment and Disability Status," NBER Working Papers 5536, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5536
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. John Bound & Michael Schoenbaum & Timothy Waidmann, 1995. "Race and Education Differences in Disability Status and Labor Force Attachment," NBER Working Papers 5159, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Parsons, Donald O, 1980. "Racial Trends in Male Labor Force Participation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 911-920, December.
    3. F. Thomas Juster & Richard Suzman, 1995. "An Overview of the Health and Retirement Study," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30, pages 7-56.
    4. John Bound, 1991. "Self-Reported Versus Objective Measures of Health in Retirement Models," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(1), pages 106-138.
    5. Smith, J.P., 1996. "Racial and Ethnic Differences in Wealth in the Health and Retirement Study," Papers 96-12, RAND - Reprint Series.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lorenti, Angelo & Dudel, Christian & Hale, Jo Mhairi & Myrskylä, Mikko, 2020. "Working and disability expectancies at older ages: the role of childhood circumstances and education," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 106194, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    2. Iskhakov, Fedor, 2008. "Dynamic Programming Model of Health and Retirement," Memorandum 03/2008, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    3. Jorge González, 2008. "Commuting costs and labor force retirement," Working Papers. Serie AD 2008-19, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
    4. Bound, John & Schoenbaum, Michael & Stinebrickner, Todd R. & Waidmann, Timothy, 1999. "The dynamic effects of health on the labor force transitions of older workers," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 179-202, June.
    5. Joanna N. Lahey, 2017. "Understanding Why Black Women Are Not Working Longer," NBER Chapters, in: Women Working Longer: Increased Employment at Older Ages, pages 85-109, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. White-Means, Shelley I. & Osmani, Ahmad Reshad, 2019. "Job Market Prospects of Breast vs. Prostate Cancer Survivors in the US: A Double Hurdle Model of Ethnic Disparities," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 282-304.
    7. Cai, Lixin, 2010. "The relationship between health and labour force participation: Evidence from a panel data simultaneous equation model," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 77-90, January.
    8. Berndt, Ernst R. & Finkelstein, Stan N. & Greenberg, Paul E. & Howland, Robert H. & Keith, Alison & Rush, A. John & Russell, James & Keller, Martin B., 1998. "Workplace performance effects from chronic depression and its treatment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(5), pages 511-535, October.
    9. Ebaidalla Mahjoub Ebaidalla & Mohammed Elhaj Mustafa Ali, 2018. "Chronic Illness and Labor Market Participation in Arab Countries: Evidence from Egypt and Tunisia," Working Papers 1229, Economic Research Forum, revised 10 Oct 2018.
    10. Bakhtin, Maxim & Aleksandrova, Ekaterina, 2018. "Health and labor force participation of elderly Russians," Applied Econometrics, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), vol. 49, pages 5-29.
    11. Colen, Cynthia G. & Geronimus, Arline T. & Phipps, Maureen G., 2006. "Getting a piece of the pie? The economic boom of the 1990s and declining teen birth rates in the United States," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 63(6), pages 1531-1545, September.
    12. repec:eee:labchp:v:3:y:1999:i:pc:p:3309-3416 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Lixin Cai & Guyonne Kalb, 2006. "Health status and labour force participation: evidence from Australia," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(3), pages 241-261, March.
    14. Xie, Ruizhi & Awokuse, Titus O., 2013. "The Role of Health Status on Income in China," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 151137, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    15. Carole Green, 2005. "Race, Ethnicity, And Social Security Retirement Age In The Us," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(2), pages 117-143.
    16. Jeremy Pais, 2014. "Cumulative Structural Disadvantage and Racial Health Disparities: The Pathways of Childhood Socioeconomic Influence," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(5), pages 1729-1753, October.
    17. repec:eee:labchp:v:3:y:1999:i:pc:p:3417-3528 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Richard Johnson, 2001. "Effects of old-age insurance on female retirement : evidence from cross-country time-series data," Research Working Paper RWP 01-08, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
    19. Arline T. Geronimus, 1999. "Economic inequality and social differentials in mortality," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 5(Sep), pages 23-36.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies

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