Labor Force Participation of the Elderly in Japan
Japan experienced increases in labor force participation (LFP) of the elderly in recent years, as have other advanced countries. In the present study, we overview the employment trend of the elderly in Japan, and examine what factors have contributed to its increase since the early 2000s. Improved health and longevity, increasing education levels, and a shift towards less physically demanding jobs have allowed the elderly to stay longer in the labor force. However, elderly employment rebound and its timing are more closely linked to changes in social security incentives, especially increases in the eligibility age for public pension benefits. More broadly, reduced generosity in social security programs since the mid-1980s has been a key driver of the long-term trend change in elderly employment. A series of social security reforms have helped utilize the elderly’s potential work capacity, accumulated due to improving health conditions and other favorable factors for LFP in the elderly.
The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Labor Force Participation of the Elderly in Japan, Takashi Oshio, Emiko Usui, Satoshi Shimizutani. in Social Security Programs and Retirement around the World: Working Longer, Coile, Milligan, and Wise. 2019