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Calling Older Workers Back to Work


  • Grigoli, Francesco
  • Koczan, Zsoka
  • Topalova, Petia


Population aging in advanced economies could have significant macroeconomic implica- tions, unless more individuals choose to participate in labor markets. In this context, the steep increase in the share of older workers who remain economically active since the mid- 1990s is an overlooked yet encouraging trend. We identify the drivers of the rise in participa- tion of the elderly relying on cross-country and individual-level data from advanced economies over the past three decades. Our findings suggest that the bulk of the increase in their par- ticipation is driven by gains in educational attainment and changes in labor market policies, such as the tax benefit system, and pension reforms. Urbanization and the increasing role of services also contributed, while automation weighed on their participation.

Suggested Citation

  • Grigoli, Francesco & Koczan, Zsoka & Topalova, Petia, 2021. "Calling Older Workers Back to Work," GLO Discussion Paper Series 762, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:762

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Claudia Olivetti & Barbara Petrongolo, 2017. "The Economic Consequences of Family Policies: Lessons from a Century of Legislation in High-Income Countries," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 31(1), pages 205-230, Winter.
    2. Claudia Olivetti & Barbara Petrongolo, 2017. "The Economic Consequences of Family Policies: Lessons from a Century of Legislation," Working Papers 811, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
    3. Angela Cipollone & Eleonora Patacchini & Giovanna Vallanti, 2013. "Women Labor Market Performance In Europe:Novel Evidence On Trends And Shaping Factors," Working Papers LuissLab 13107, Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza, LUISS Guido Carli.
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    1. Krzysztof Nowacki & Beata Oleksiak & Karolina Łakomy & Teresa Lis, 2021. "Accident Risk among People Employed in Poland—A Retrospective Cohort Study," Energies, MDPI, vol. 14(6), pages 1-11, March.

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    More about this item


    Automation; elderly; labor force participation; pension;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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