Did the Elimination of Mandatory Retirement Affect Faculty Retirement Flows?

54 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2001 Last revised: 25 Jan 2002

See all articles by Orley Ashenfelter

Orley Ashenfelter

Princeton University - Industrial Relations Section; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

David Card

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Date Written: July 2001

Abstract

A special exemption from the 1986 Age Discrimination Act allowed colleges and universities to enforce mandatory retirement of faculty at age 70 until 1994. We compare faculty turnover rates at a large sample of institutions before and after the federal law change, and at a set of institutions that were covered by earlier state laws prohibiting compulsory retirement. Retirement rates at institutions that enforced mandatory retirement exhibited sharp 'spikes' at ages 70 and 71. About 90 percent of professors who were still teaching at age 70 retired within two years. After the elimination of compulsory retirement the retirement rates of 70 and 71-year-olds fell to levels comparable to 69-year-olds, and over one-half of 70-year-olds were still teaching two years later. These findings indicate that U.S. colleges and universities will experience a rise in the number of older faculty over the coming years. The increase is likely to be larger at private research universities, where a higher fraction of faculty has traditionally remained at work until age 70.

Suggested Citation

Ashenfelter, Orley C. and Card, David E., Did the Elimination of Mandatory Retirement Affect Faculty Retirement Flows? (July 2001). NBER Working Paper No. w8378. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=277397

Orley C. Ashenfelter (Contact Author)

Princeton University - Industrial Relations Section ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-2098
United States
609-258-4040 (Phone)
609-258-2907 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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David E. Card

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )

Room 3880
Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
United States
510-642-5222 (Phone)
510-643-7042 (Fax)

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

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

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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