NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Job Loss and Retirement Behavior of Older Men

Sewin Chan, Ann Huff Stevens

NBER Working Paper No. 6920
Issued in February 1999
NBER Program(s):   LS

This paper uses data from the Health and Retirement Study to examine the employment and retirement behavior of men aged fifty and above who have experienced an involuntary job loss. Hazard models for returning to work and for exiting post-displacement employment are estimated and used to examine work patterns for ten years following a job loss. The findings show that a job loss results in large and lasting effects on future employment probabilities, and that these effects vary with the age of the worker. Displaced workers in their fifties are estimated to have a three in four chance of returning to work within two years after a job loss, whereas for a 62-year-old job loser, the probability is less than a third. Once re-employed, men 50 and above face significantly higher probabilities of exiting the workforce than do workers who have not experienced a recent job loss; however, the direction of this effect gradually reverses over time. The net outcome of these entry and exit rates is a substantial gap between the employment rates of men who have and have not lost jobs, that lasts at least seven years.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w6920

Published: Journal of Labor Economics, Volume 19, Issue 2, (April 2001) Pages: 484-521

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