Aging, Retirement and High-Skill Work Performance: The Case of State Supreme Court Judges

26 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2017 Last revised: 1 Jul 2017

See all articles by Elliott Ash

Elliott Ash

ETH Zürich

W. Bentley MacLeod

Princeton University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Columbia University - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: June 26, 2017

Abstract

This paper provides evidence on how high-skill work performance changes in response to biological aging, and in response to mandatory retirement policies. Our data set is constructed from the work product of all state supreme court judges for the years 1947 through 1994. Older judges have the same work output as younger judges but write lower-quality opinions. Older judges use a different writing style, with shorter words but longer sentences. Conditional on current age, judges who retire later in life write write higher-quality opinions than judges who retire earlier in life. Mandatory retirement policies have a demotivating effect on judge work output, but not on work quality.

Keywords: Aging, Judges, Bureaucrats

JEL Classification: J24, K40, J45

Suggested Citation

Ash, Elliott and MacLeod, William Bentley, Aging, Retirement and High-Skill Work Performance: The Case of State Supreme Court Judges (June 26, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2992828

Elliott Ash

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