NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Women Working Longer: Facts and Some Explanations

Claudia Goldin, Lawrence F. Katz

Chapter in NBER book Women Working Longer: Increased Employment at Older Ages (2018), Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F. Katz, editors (p. 11 - 53)
Conference held May 21-22, 2016
Published in April 2018 by University of Chicago Press
© 2018 by the National Bureau of Economic Research

American women are working more, through their sixties and even into their seventies. Their increased participation at older ages started in the late 1980s before the turnaround in older men’s labor force participation and the economic downturns of the 2000s. The higher labor force participation of older women consists disproportionately of those working at full-time jobs. Increased labor force participation of women in their older ages is part of the general increase in cohort labor force participation. Cohort effects, in turn, are mainly a function of educational advances and greater prior work experience. But labor force participation rates of the most recent cohorts in their forties are less than those for previous cohorts. These factors may suggest that employment at older ages will stagnate or even decrease. But several other factors will be operating in an opposing direction and leads us to conclude that women are likely to continue to work even longer.

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This chapter first appeared as NBER working paper w22607, Women Working Longer: Facts and Some Explanations, Claudia Goldin, Lawrence F. Katz
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