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50 is the new 30: Long-run trends of schooling and retirement explained by human aging

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  • Strulik, Holger
  • Werner, Katharina

Abstract

Workers in the US and other developed countries retire no later than a century ago and spend a significantly longer part of their life in school, implying that they stay less years in the work force. The facts of longer schooling and simultaneously shorter working life are seemingly hard to square with the rationality of the standard economic life cycle model. In this paper we propose a novel theory, based on health and aging, that explains these long-run trends. Workers optimally respond to a longer stay in a healthy state of high productivity by obtaining more education and supplying less labor. Better health increases productivity and amplifies the return on education. The health accelerator allows workers to finance educational efforts with less forgone labor supply than in the previous state of shorter healthy life expectancy. When both life-span and healthy life expectancy increase, the health effect is dominating and the working life gets shorter if the preference for leisure is sufficiently strong or the return on education is sufficiently large. We calibrate an extended version of the model and show that it is capable to predict the historical trends of schooling and retirement.

Suggested Citation

  • Strulik, Holger & Werner, Katharina, 2013. "50 is the new 30: Long-run trends of schooling and retirement explained by human aging," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 152, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:cegedp:152
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    Cited by:

    1. Baldanzi, Annarita & Prettner, Klaus & Tscheuschner, Paul, 2017. "Longevity-induced vertical innovation and the tradeoff between life and growth," Hohenheim Discussion Papers in Business, Economics and Social Sciences 31-2017, University of Hohenheim, Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences.
    2. repec:kap:jecgro:v:22:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10887-017-9147-x is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Strulik, Holger, 2016. "Myopic misery: Maternal depression, child investments, and the neurobiological poverty trap," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 294, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    4. C. Dannemann & Erkan Goeren, 2018. "The Educational Burden of ADHD: Evidence From Student Achievement Test Scores," Working Papers V-408-18, University of Oldenburg, Department of Economics, revised Apr 2018.
    5. repec:eee:joecag:v:6:y:2015:i:c:p:5-12 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Casper Worm Hansen & Holger Strulik, 2017. "Life expectancy and education: evidence from the cardiovascular revolution," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 22(4), pages 421-450, December.
    7. Carl-Johan Dalgaard & Holger Strulik, 2017. "The Genesis of the Golden Age: Accounting for the Rise in Health and Leisure," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 24, pages 132-151, March.
    8. Strulik, Holger, 2016. "The return to education in terms of wealth and health," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 293, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    9. Hirazawa, Makoto & Yakita, Akira, 2017. "Labor supply of elderly people, fertility, and economic development," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 75-96.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    healthy life expectancy; longevity; education; retirement; labor supply; compression of morbidity;

    JEL classification:

    • E20 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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