NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Race Differences in Labor Force Attachment and Disability Status

John Bound, Michael Schoenbaum, Timothy Waidmann

NBER Working Paper No. 5536
Issued in April 1996
NBER Program(s):   LS

We use the first wave of the Health and Retirement Survey to study the effect of health on the labor force activity of Black and White men and women in their 50s. The evidence we present confirms the notion that health is an extremely important determinant of early labor force exit. Our estimates suggest that health differences between Blacks and Whites can account for most of the racial gap in labor force attachment for men. For women, where participation rates are comparable, our estimates imply that Black women would be substantially more likely to work than White women were it not for the marked health differences. We also find for both men and women that poor health has a substantially larger effect on labor force behavior for Blacks. The evidence suggests that these differences result from Black/White differences in access to the resources necessary to retire.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w5536

Published: Bound, John, Michael Schoenbaum, and Timothy Waidmann. “Race Differences in Labor Force Attachment and Disability Status." The Gerontologist 36 (1996): 311-321.

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