New York University

To improve measurement and modeling of the evolving labor market behaviors, expectations, and preferences of middle and upper-middle income households headed by older Americans

  • Amount $487,109
  • City New York, NY
  • Investigator Andrew Caplin
  • Year 2012
  • Program Research
  • Sub-program Working Longer

The most popularly used survey of older Americans-the National Institute on Aging's (NIA) Health and Retirement Study (HRS)-has a limited number of questions that address with any specificity the ways that Americans work into their 60s and 70s as they transition from full-time employment to full-time retirement. What is needed is an opportunity to devise and test questions that will better capture the aspirations, expectations, and work patterns of aging Americans so as to improve the measurement and modeling of older Americans' evolving labor market behaviors. This grant to fund the work of New York University economist Andrew Caplin provides such an opportunity. Caplin has formed a partnership with NIA and Vanguard, one of the world's largest investment management companies, to createe a panel of older Americans, entitled, the MINYVan panel. This MINYVan panel will allow Caplin and colleagues to experiment with questions that will better measure labor market preferences and opportunities of an aging population. They will also pose questions concerning expectations of future work and pay and questions concerning hypothetical behavior in various possible future contingencies. For example, they will investigate whether or not an individual who chooses to stop work believes that they would be able to return to work for high pay at some point in the future. By studying panel responses Caplin and colleagues will begin to develop appropriate structural models of labor market behavior and design a complementary survey that will focus on labor market preferences and behaviors. This work will not only yield interesting insights in itself, but will be useful to future discussions about how how labor-market activities questions on the HRS can be made more robust.

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