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

Panel Paper: Does Age-Related Decline in Ability Correspond with Retirement Age?

Friday, November 13, 2015 : 1:50 PM
Orchid A (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Geoffrey Sanzenbacher and Anek Belbase, Center for Retirement Research
In many occupations, both blue- and white-collar, abilities that decline relatively early in a worker’s life are very important.  Workers in these occupations may find it difficult to continue to work longer even if financial circumstances, like the increasing Full Retirement Age (FRA), dictate that they should.  Yet, past research on retirement timing has typically bucketed workers into the groups “blue-” and “white-” collar, even though this distinction ignores important differences in ability decline within each group.  Instead, this study uses the Health and Retirement Study linked to the O*NET job attributes to develop a “Susceptibility Index” to identify occupations that are especially vulnerable to ability decline prior to the FRA.  The study uses this Index to explore whether workers in occupations that value abilities that decline early will be forced to retire earlier, regardless of their financial circumstances and regardless of whether the occupation is blue- or white-collar.  It also uses the Index to explore whether workers have shifted into or away from jobs susceptible to early ability decline in the last two decades, as working longer has become more important.