RAND Corporation

To obtain a comprehensive characterization of the role of firms in labor force transitions of older workers in the United States with comparative analyses to the role of firms in Germany

  • Amount $498,059
  • City Santa Monica, CA
  • Investigator Till von Wachter
  • Year 2012
  • Program Research
  • Sub-program Working Longer

This grant funds research investigating demand for older workers in labor markets and how the behavior of firms affect older worker's decisions to work beyond conventional retirement age. Led by Till Von Wachter, previously of Columbia and now at UCLA and RAND, David Card of UC Berkeley, and Lars Vilhuber of the U.S. Census Bureau, the research team will analyze the role of firms in labor force transitions of older workers in the United States, with a comparative analysis to firm behaviors in Germany. Their research addresses four critical questions. "First, do common firm-level events, such as mass layoffs and plant closings, contribute significantly to observed retirement rates? Second, is there a significant difference in the rate of early retirement among firms (net of worker characteristics)? Third, do differences in firm-specific retirement rates correlate with more commonly studied firm-level differences in wages and productivity, and what do the results imply for the sources of firm-level differences in retirement rates? Fourth, is the role of firms in retirement similar in Germany?" In addition to providing valuable insights, the effort promise to draw scholarly attention to the need for additional research on the demand side of the older worker labor market.

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