Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel Paper: What Explains the Educational Differences in the Propensity to Work Among Older Adults?

Friday, November 13, 2015 : 1:30 PM
Orchid A (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Nadia Karamcheva, Congressional Budget Office, Richard Johnson, Urban Institute and Benjamin Southgate, The Urban Institute
The labor force participation of older adults in the US showed a marked increase over the last twenty years. Yet, the trend towards delayed retirement has not impacted all groups equally and large differences remain in labor force participation rates between those with low and high education. Using data from the Health and Retirement Study, including restricted-access occupational codes matched with job demands information derived from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET), this study examines what factors account for the educational differences in old-age employment. The results show that almost a half of the employment gap can be accounted for by differences in self-reported health and work-restricting health conditions.  Differences in demographics and self-reported job characteristics explain much of the remaining difference. By contrast, the impact of O*NET job demands is relatively small.