Nonmonetary Job Characteristics and Employment Transitions at Older Ages

37 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2015 Last revised: 13 Jan 2016

See all articles by Marco Angrisani

Marco Angrisani

Center for Economic and Social Research (CESR)

Arie Kapteyn

Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research - University of Southern California; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Erik Meijer

University of Southern California; RAND Corporation

Date Written: September 1, 2015

Abstract

This paper studies to what extent job characteristics such as physical and cognitive demands, use of technologies, responsibility, difficulty, stress, peer pressure, and relations with co-workers are related to full or partial retirement. We study employment transitions and retirement expectations of older workers by exploiting the wealth of information about individuals older than age 50 in the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), and characteristics of different occupations provided by the Occupation Information Network (O*NET) database. Controlling for basic demographics, wages, benefits, health, cognitive ability, personality, and other personal characteristics, we find strong and statistically significant relationships between labor force transitions and job characteristics. These relationships are typically more pronounced and more precisely estimated when we use objective job attributes taken from the O*NET than when we use self-reported job characteristics taken from the HRS, but self-reported characteristics are more strongly related to moves from full-time to part-time employment. Using expected retirement age or subjective probabilities of working full-time at older ages gives similar results to using actual labor force transitions as the dependent variable. The estimated effects of job characteristics are again stronger and more robust to alternative specifications when measures of job attributes are taken from the O*NET than from the HRS. Our findings suggest that nonmonetary job characteristics are important determinants of labor supply decisions at older ages, but our analysis is still preliminary in its attempt to uncover causal relationships: Unobservable individual characteristics responsible for sorting into specific occupations may also shape retirement decisions.

Keywords: older workers, labor-force withdrawal, nonmonetary job characteristics

Suggested Citation

Angrisani, Marco and Kapteyn, Arie and Meijer, Erik, Nonmonetary Job Characteristics and Employment Transitions at Older Ages (September 1, 2015). Michigan Retirement Research Center Research Paper No. 2015-326; CESR-Schaeffer Working Paper No. 2015-034. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2689805 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2689805

Marco Angrisani (Contact Author)

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

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

Arie Kapteyn

Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research - University of Southern California ( email )

635 Downey Way
Los Angeles, CA 90089-3332
United States
310-448-5383 (Phone)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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

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