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Live longer, work longer : making it happen in the labor market

  • Vodopivec, Milan
  • Dolenc, Primoz

The objective of the paper is to summarize labor market implications of population aging and to discuss policy options to increase the employment of old workers. The paper argues that population aging and ensuing shrinking of the workforce will create a significant drag on the economies of developed, transition, and even some developing countries. Thus working longer is an imperative: unless countered by productivity increases, working longer, or both, population aging and ensuing shrinking of labor force will reduce economic growth and may jeopardize the economic well-being of some of the elderly. However, extending working lives has proven difficult, both because workers do not want to work longer and because employers are lukewarm about employment old workers. Among measures to motivate workers to work longer, the paper proposes providing retirement incentives and attractive, flexible working arrangements; and to stimulate employers to hire old workers, it argues for removing obstacles imposed by restrictive labor market institutions, for increasing human capital of workers via life-long learning, and for addressing age discrimination. Chances for extending working lives will also increase with improving health of old workers. The organization of the paper is as follows. Section 1 discusses the implications of population aging for economic growth. Section 2 examines factors that stand in the way of longer working lives - why workers opt for early exit from the labor market, and why employers are often lukewarm about employing old workers. In the policy part of the paper, Section 3 proposes possible measures to attract workers to work longer, and Section 4 describes how to remove institutional obstacles and introduce incentives that would make old workers more appealing to employers.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Social Protection Discussion Papers with number 42471.

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Date of creation: 01 Feb 2008
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:hdnspu:42471
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  1. Muenz, Rainer, 2007. "Aging and demographic change in European societies : main trends and alternative policy options," Social Protection Discussion Papers 39174, The World Bank.
  2. Ruhm, Christopher J, 1990. "Bridge Jobs and Partial Retirement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(4), pages 482-501, October.
  3. Louis S. Jacobson & Robert J. LaLonde & Daniel G. Sullivan, 1992. "Earnings losses of displaced workers," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 92-28, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  4. Palacios, Robert & Whitehouse, Edward, 2006. "Civil-service pension schemes around the world," MPRA Paper 14796, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Peter F. Orazem & Milan Vodopivec & Ruth Wu, 2005. "Worker displacement during the transition: Experience from Slovenia," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 13(2), pages 311-340, 04.
  6. Romain Duval, 2003. "The Retirement Effects of Old-Age Pension and Early Retirement Schemes in OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 370, OECD Publishing.
  7. Buddelmeyer, Hielke & Mourre, Gilles & Ward-Warmedinger, Melanie E., 2004. "Recent Developments in Part-Time Work in EU-15 Countries: Trends and Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 1415, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Louis S. Jacobson & Robert J. LaLonde & Daniel G. Sullivan, 1993. "Long-term earnings losses of high-seniority displaced workers," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Nov, pages 2-20.
  9. Macours, Karen & Vakis, Renos, 2010. "Seasonal Migration and Early Childhood Development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 857-869, June.
  10. Peracchi, Franco & Perotti, Valeria & Scarpetta, Stefano, 2007. "Informality and social protection : preliminary results from pilot surveys in Bulgaria and Colombia," Social Protection Discussion Papers 41541, The World Bank.
  11. Gordon Betcherman & Niels-Hugo Blunch, 2008. "The limited job prospects of displaced workers: evidence from two cities in China," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 187-207, September.
  12. Lori G. Kletzer & Robert W. Fairlie, 2003. "The Long-Term Costs of Job Displacement for Young Adult Workers," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(4), pages 682-698, July.
  13. Vodopivec, Milan & Dolenc, Primoz, 2008. "Live longer, work longer : making it happen in the labor market," Social Protection Discussion Papers 42471, The World Bank.
  14. Daniel, Kirsten & Heywood, John S., 2007. "The determinants of hiring older workers: UK evidence," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 35-51, January.
  15. Milazzo, Annamaria & Grosh, Margaret, 2008. "Social safety nets in World Bank lending and analytical work : FY2002 - 2007," Social Protection Discussion Papers 44730, The World Bank.
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