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Working Until Dropping: Employment Behavior of the Elderly in Rural China




In rural areas of many developing countries, including China, people do not have the chance to retire, but rather have to continue working as they age. In this paper, we have two specific objectives. First, we will illustrate the work and retirement patterns of the elderly, and develop a profile of the characteristics of the elderly that work and those that do not. We will describe the work contours both in the formal and informal sectors. Second, we will examine the determinants of work and retirement and attempt to surmise from these the strategies that the elderly use to support themselves when they are old. One finding of interest is that we find evidence of behavior among the elderly that in many cases they are willing to sacrifice their own current consumption and asset accumulation to help make their children more productive so the children will be able to better care for their parents when they are older.

Suggested Citation

  • Lihua Pang & Alan de Brauw & Scott Rozelle, 2004. "Working Until Dropping: Employment Behavior of the Elderly in Rural China," Department of Economics Working Papers 2004-14, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  • Handle: RePEc:wil:wileco:2004-14

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    Cited by:

    1. Ning, Manxiu & Gong, Jinquan & Zheng, Xuhui & Zhuang, Jun, 2016. "Does New Rural Pension Scheme decrease elderly labor supply? Evidence from CHARLS," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 315-330.
    2. repec:eee:jrpoli:v:53:y:2017:i:c:p:408-418 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    China; elderly; employment; retirement;

    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
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets


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