*Names in bold indicate Presenter
A crucial question about the increase in the average retirement age is the character of work effort supplied during the extra years that workers remain in the labor force. Groups that remain longer in the workforce may choose to work either in less demanding jobs than they held during their careers or for fewer hours per week than they worked in their career jobs. Alternatively, they may work additional years in jobs that, in terms of pay, hours, and responsibility, are very similar to their career jobs. The monthly CPS files can be used to analyze this question. Respondents in the survey are interviewed in 8 months over a 16-month span. Older workers who leave a job over this period can be followed to determine whether they accept jobs in less a demanding occupation or with lower pay or work hours than their previous jobs.
To shed greater light on the issue, we also use special CPS surveys to compare the distribution of older workers’ job tenure over time. Since 1987 the BLS has periodically administered supplementary questions in the regular CPS to determine how long employees have worked in their jobs or for their current employers. The answers to these questions permit us to compare the distribution of job tenures of the same birth-year cohorts at two points in time. For birth cohorts who are near the typical ages of retirement – say, ages 60 to 67 – we can see whether the increase in average retirement age in successive birth cohorts is linked to increased tenure in jobs they held at age 55 or to an increased likelihood of working in jobs with relatively brief tenures.
- Burtless_APPAM_Complete_Nov-2012.pdf (354.0KB)