Labor Force Transitions at Older Ages: The Roles of Work Environment and Personality

35 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2014

See all articles by Marco Angrisani

Marco Angrisani

Center for Economic and Social Research (CESR)

Michael D. Hurd

RAND Corporation; State University of New York at Stony Brook - College of Arts and Science - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Erik Meijer

University of Southern California; RAND Corporation

Andrew M. Parker

RAND Corporation

Susann Rohwedder

RAND Corporation

Date Written: September 30, 2013

Abstract

Besides compensation and financial incentives, several other work-related factors may affect individual retirement decisions. Specifically, job characteristics such as autonomy, skill variety, task significance and difficulty, stress and physical demands, peer pressure and relations with co-workers, play a crucial role in determining psychological commitment to work at older ages. While financial preparedness for retirement and health shocks are often cited as main predictors of the choice to exit the labor force, there exists relatively little research documenting the extent to which the work environment itself and its interaction with economic variables influence retirement decisions. We document that job characteristics are associated with labor force transitions at older ages, in particular transitions to retirement and part-time employment. Additionally, we show that while personality traits do not directly drive labor force transitions, the effect of job characteristics on labor supply outcomes varies with the “intensity” of personality traits. We also document that job characteristics themselves are strongly related to personality traits. This suggests that, depending on their personality, individuals may select into specific jobs, whose characteristics ultimately shape their retirement paths.

Keywords: retirement, job characteristics, job satisfaction, Big Five personality traits

Suggested Citation

Angrisani, Marco and Hurd, Michael D. and Meijer, Erik and Parker, Andrew M. and Rohwedder, Susann, Labor Force Transitions at Older Ages: The Roles of Work Environment and Personality (September 30, 2013). Michigan Retirement Research Center Research Paper No. 2013-295. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2376506 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2376506

Marco Angrisani (Contact Author)

Center for Economic and Social Research (CESR) ( email )

635 Downey Way
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Michael D. Hurd

RAND Corporation ( email )

P.O. Box 2138
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310-393-0411 (Phone)
310-393-4818 (Fax)

State University of New York at Stony Brook - College of Arts and Science - Department of Economics ( email )

Stony Brook, NY 11794
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Erik Meijer

University of Southern California ( email )

635 Downey Way
Los Angeles, CA 90089-3332
United States

RAND Corporation ( email )

1776 Main Street
P.O. Box 2138
Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
United States

Andrew M. Parker

RAND Corporation ( email )

1776 Main Street
P.O. Box 2138
Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
United States

Susann Rohwedder

RAND Corporation ( email )

P.O. Box 2138
1776 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
United States

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