Labor Force Participation of Older Males in Korea: 1955-2005

Chulhee Lee

NBER Working Paper No. 14800
Issued in March 2009
NBER Program(s):Aging

This study estimates the labor force participation rate (LFPR) of older males in Korea from 1955 to 2005, and analyzes the effects of several determining factors on labor force participation decisions at older ages. The LFPR of older men increased substantially from the mid-1960s to the late-1990s. This pattern is in sharp contrast to the historical experiences of most OECD countries, where the LFPR of older males declined rapidly over the last century. The rise in the LFPR of older males in Korea between 1965 and 1995 is largely explained by the dramatic increase in the labor-market activity of the rural elderly population. The results of regression analyses suggest that the acceleration of population aging in rural areas due to the selective out-migration of younger persons was the major cause of the sharp increase in the LFPR of older males. It is likely that the relative decline of the rural economy in the course of industrialization made it increasingly difficult for the rural elderly population to save for retirement.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w14800

Published: The Economic Consequences of Demographic Change in East Asia, NBER-EASE Volume 19. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010.

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