Brookings Institution

To measure how employers’ benefit costs change with age of employees

  • Amount $400,000
  • City Washington, DC
  • Investigator Gary Burtless
  • Year 2016
  • Program Research
  • Sub-program Working Longer

Funds from this grant support work by Gary Burtless to measure how employers’ benefit costs vary with age of employees. Burtless will use data from nationally representative microcensus files to obtain reliable estimates of the costs facing employers who hire or retain older workers rather than equally qualified younger workers who are paid the same wage. Cost differences to be examined include health insurance coverage for workers at different ages; compensation for scheduled and unscheduled leave, in particular for sickness; costs associated with the possibility that an older worker’s career will end sooner than that of an equally qualified younger worker; and retirement benefit costs, particularly under defined-benefit plans. Once calculated, these costs will be evaluated against a series of alternate policies that could reduce differences between older and younger workers.

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