National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

To support research on the barriers to working longer and how to facilitate work at older ages

  • Amount $644,920
  • City Cambridge, MA
  • Investigator David Wise
  • Year 2010
  • Program Research
  • Sub-program Working Longer

David Wise, of the Kennedy School of Government and the National Bureau of Economic Research, has directed a remarkably successful program at NBER since 1985 on the Economics of Aging. He has now assembled a team of distinguished economists, including Stanford's John Shoven and Harvard's David Cutler, to expand this program's focus to include research on aging and work, by examining the conditions in public policy and in the workplace that make it difficult or costly for people to work longer than conventional retirement age. This grant supports four interrelated research projects. The first project develops tools for estimating how policy reforms would affect work at older ages and details two possible reforms: a "paid up" social security reform and a Medicare-as-first-payer reform, each of which could facilitate longer working lives. The second project analyzes relationships between firm policy provisions and work behavior at older ages, based on the diverse pension and retiree health plans of employees of Towers Watson client companies. The third project addresses the effect of improving health status on the ability to work at older ages and analyzes mortality reductions in 12 countries, emphasizing the rationale that these trends provide for facilitating longer working lives. The fourth project further develops an international perspective by exploring older workers' preferences for work arrangements and employers' willingness to accommodate such preferences in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and France.

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