Boston College

To produce research and inform policy-makers about the role that non-traditional jobs play for older workers

  • Amount $249,626
  • City Chestnut Hill, MA
  • Investigator Alicia Munnell
  • Year 2018
  • Program Research
  • Sub-program Working Longer

This grant will support four integrated research projects on the role played by nontraditional work arrangements—defined as jobs that lack benefits and that have significant wage and hour volatility—in the labor market decisions of older workers. Led by Alicia Munnell, director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, three of the projects focus on workers in their 50s and early 60s who may consider themselves too young to retire. The first project examines the extent to which the apparent rise in nontraditional employment for older individuals reflects the loss of traditional jobs to globalization and automation. The goal is to learn how the spread of these pressures to more industries could increase nontraditional work. To the extent that more older workers hold nontraditional jobs, the second project explores how these jobs are part of late-career employment patterns. Do these workers move back into traditional employment, for example—and, if so, after how long—and how often and for how long do they stay in nontraditional work for the remainder of their careers. The third project addresses the question of whether older nontraditional workers obtain access to retirement savings vehicles and health insurance through other sources, such as their spouses, public programs, or their own initiative. The fourth project focuses on an older group of workers—those in their 60s who are old enough to retire but are still working—and examines the extent to which nontraditional jobs help these workers improve their retirement security relative to retiring early.

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