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Teaching, Teachers' Pensions, and Retirement across Recent Cohorts of College-Graduate Women

Maria D. Fitzpatrick

Chapter in NBER book Women Working Longer: Increased Employment at Older Ages (2018), Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F. Katz, editors (p. 217 - 238)
Conference held May 21-22, 2016
Published in April 2018 by University of Chicago Press
© 2018 by the National Bureau of Economic Research

Labor force participation rates of college-educated women ages 60 to 64 increased by 20 percent (10 percentage points) between 2000 and 2010. One potential explanation for this change stems from the fact that fewer college-educated women in the more recent cohorts were ever teachers. This occupational shift could affect the length of women’s careers because teaching is a profession where workers are covered by defined benefit pensions and, generally, defined benefit pensions allow workers to retire earlier than Social Security. I provide evidence supporting the hypothesis and show that older college-educated women who worked as teachers do not experience increases in labor force participation as large as their counterparts who never taught.

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