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Health and Work at Older Ages: Using Mortality to Assess the Capacity to Work across Countries

Author

Listed:
  • Kevin Milligan

    () (University of British Columbia)

  • David Wise

    () (Harvard Kennedy School)

Abstract

Health and longevity have increased substantially over the last 50 years, yet the labor force participation of older men has declined in most developed countries. We use mortality as a measure of health to assess the capacity to work at older ages in 12 OECD countries. For a given level of mortality, the employment rates of older workers vary substantially across countries and over time within countries. At each mortality rate in 2007, if American men between the ages of 55 and 69 had worked as much as American men in 1977 they would have worked an additional 3.7 years between ages 55 and 69. That is, men in this age range in 2007 would have had to work 46.8 percent more to work as much as men with the same mortality worked thirty years earlier in 1977. Comparing across countries, at each mortality rate in 2007, to match the work of American men, French men for example would have to work 4.6 years more between the ages 55 to 69 than they actually did work. We also find that there is little relationship across countries between mortality improvements and the change in employment at older ages.

Suggested Citation

  • Kevin Milligan & David Wise, 2013. "Health and Work at Older Ages: Using Mortality to Assess the Capacity to Work across Countries," Discussion Papers 13-012, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:13-012
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    File URL: http://www-siepr.stanford.edu/repec/sip/13-012.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:cup:apsrev:v:97:y:2003:i:04:p:567-583_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:cup:apsrev:v:98:y:2004:i:01:p:191-207_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Kevin S. Milligan & David A. Wise, 2011. "Social Security and Retirement around the World: Historical Trends in Mortality and Health, Employment, and Disability Insurance Participation and Reforms - Introduction and Summary," NBER Working Papers 16719, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Tammy Schirle, 2008. "Why Have the Labor Force Participation Rates of Older Men Increased since the Mid-1990s?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(4), pages 549-594, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Johansson Per & Laun Lisa & Laun Tobias, 2014. "Screening Stringency in the Disability Insurance Program," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 14(3), pages 1-19, July.
    2. Emiko Usui & Satoshi Shimizutani & Takashi Oshio, 2016. "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.
    3. Per Johansson & Lisa Laun & Mårten Palme, 2016. "Health, Work Capacity, and Retirement in Sweden," NBER Chapters,in: Social Security Programs and Retirement Around the World: The Capacity to Work at Older Ages, pages 301-327 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Paul Bingley & Nabanita Datta Gupta & Peder J. Pedersen, 2016. "Health Capacity to Work at Older Ages in Denmark," NBER Chapters,in: Social Security Programs and Retirement Around the World: The Capacity to Work at Older Ages, pages 85-110 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Marchand, J. & Smeeding, T., 2016. "Poverty and Aging," Handbook of the Economics of Population Aging, Elsevier.
      • Marchand, Joseph & Smeeding, Timothy, 2016. "Poverty and Aging," Working Papers 2016-11, University of Alberta, Department of Economics, revised 20 Nov 2016.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • 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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