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The Effect of Local Labor Demand Conditions on the Labor Supply Outcomes of Older Americans


  • Nicole Maestas

    (RAND Corporation)

  • Kathleen Mullen

    (RAND Corporation)

  • David Powell

    (RAND Corporation)


A vast literature in labor economics has studied the relationship between local labor demand shifts and the outcomes of the working age population. This literature has ignored the impacts that these shocks have on older individuals, though there are reasons to believe that the effects are not uniform by age. Using data from the Census and the Health and Retirement Study, we measure the effects of local labor demand conditions on a host of outcomes for older individuals including employment, retirement, Social Security claiming, wages, and job characteristics. We find that local labor demand conditions do affect the labor and retirement behavior of the older segment of the population, including Social Security claiming decisions. We also find evidence that older individuals are especially responsive to local labor demand shifts in the service industry, which we show has observably different job characteristics that may be especially attractive to older workers. Similarly, we find evidence that labor demand shocks not only increase the wages of older workers but also make the jobs more attractive on non-pecuniary dimensions.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicole Maestas & Kathleen Mullen & David Powell, 2013. "The Effect of Local Labor Demand Conditions on the Labor Supply Outcomes of Older Americans," Discussion Papers 13-014, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:13-014

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    8. Nicole Maestas & Julie Zissimopoulos, 2010. "How Longer Work Lives Ease the Crunch of Population Aging," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(1), pages 139-160, Winter.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nicole Maestas & Kathleen J. Mullen & David Powell, 2016. "The Effect of Population Aging on Economic Growth, the Labor Force and Productivity," NBER Working Papers 22452, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier & Nahid Tabatabai, 2015. "The Great Recession, Retirement and Related Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 20960, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. repec:eee:regeco:v:66:y:2017:i:c:p:52-73 is not listed on IDEAS

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