Older Americans Would Work Longer If Jobs Were Flexible

John Ameriks, Joseph S. Briggs, Andrew Caplin, Minjoon Lee, Matthew D. Shapiro, Christopher Tonetti

NBER Working Paper

2017

Older Americans, even those who are long retired, have strong willingness to work, especially in jobs with flexible schedules. For many, labor force participation near or after normal retirement age is limited more by a lack of acceptable job opportunities or low expectations about finding them than by unwillingness to work longer. This paper establishes these findings using an approach to identification based on strategic survey questions (SSQs) purpose-designed to complement behavioral data. These findings suggest that demand-side factors are important in explaining late-in-life labor market behavior and may be the most appropriate target for policy aimed at promoting working longer.

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