WI19-02: Health, Occupations, and Work at Older Ages



Increases in average life expectancy, better health in older ages, and work becoming less physically demanding have all contributed to a greater number of working years and postponed retirement. However, this is not uniformly the experienced across the population, and there a variety of patterns—especially looking across occupations—in the timing of retirement, disability rates, and Social Security benefit claiming behavior.

This project includes three studies, all taking a life-cycle perspective to study the many interactions among labor supply decisions, health, occupations, and Social Security programs: (1) The first study looks at differences between people in “blue-collar” and “white-collar” jobs in the the labor supply and utility responses to increases in the Social Security benefit full retirement age (FRA). (2) The second research study focuses on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) utilization across broad occupations at older ages and, moving through towards the earlier part of the life course, the extent to which the availability of SSDI influences choice of occupation at younger ages. This study emphasizes the role of heterogeneous preferences in the population over work and the value of insurance in understanding these choices. (3) Bringing the first two studies together, the third study measures possible interactions between the FRA and SSDI applications, which could range from there being no effect on some groups to very pronounced effects for others depending on occupation.


Project Year