NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Why Was there Mandatory Retirement? or the Impossibility of Efficient Bonding Contracts

Kevin Lang

NBER Working Paper No. 2199
Issued in March 1987
NBER Program(s):   LS

Lazear has argued that hours constraints, in general, and mandatory retirement, in particular, form part of an efficient labor market contract designed to increase output by inhibiting worker shirking. Since the contract is efficient, legislative interference is welfare reducing. However, in any case where bonding is costly, the hours constraints will not be chosen optimally. Although it is theoretically possible that bonding is costless, in this case the earnings profile is indeterminate and we should never observe monitoring aimed at reducing shirking. It therefore appears that bonding should be modelled as costly. If so, the role of policy depends on the source of bonding costs, the set of feasible contracts and the policy options which are available to government.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w2199

Published: Journal of Public Economics, 1989

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