Factors Affecting Labor Supply Decisions and Retirement Income
NBER Working Paper No. 5223
Recent policy has focused on alleviating poverty among the elderly, with varying degrees of success. Gains to some subsets of the elderly population have come at the expense of others. A component of the policy debate has been identifying factors which might influence labor force participation decisions and the effects such decisions will have on retirement income and its adequacy for a growing elderly population. While models of retirement behavior are becoming increasingly sophisticated, most fail to capture key elements such as expectations and uncertainty. This is in part due to the reduced form nature of policy experiments; parameters are estimated under a current policy and used to predict effects of an alternative scenario. Such an approach implicitly assumes that the only difference in the alternative setting is the change in policy and does not adequately account for endogeneity of decisions and responses to these changes. This paper reviews factors affecting the labor supply decision, their interactions with and implications for subsequent retirement income, and identifies important methods and data requirements necessary to model complicated dynamic behavior more accurately.
Published: in Assessing Knowledge of Retirement Behavior, E. Hanushek and N. Maritato(eds.), Washington, DC: National Acedemy Press, 1996 pp. 61-122.