Older Americans would work longer if jobs were flexible

From a new VOX post:

“As countries such as the US face increasingly ageing populations, policymakers face the question of whether to encourage workers to work beyond historical retirement age. Using strategic survey questions, this column gauges whether older Americans stop working due to their lack of interest in working longer or due to lack of opportunity, and finds that it may be the latter. The revealed strong willingness to work implies that job opportunities with flexible schedules are hard for older Americans to find. ”

“The survey responses reveal a strong willingness to work among older Americans who are currently not working. Even when the hypothetical job opportunity requires them to work exactly the same number of hours as in their previously-held reference job, about 40% of the VRI sample that are current not working report that they would accept the offer (Figure 1, blue bars). The acceptance rate is slightly higher for those who had a bridge job after leaving the career job.4 Some of them are even willing to accept a significant wage reduction to go back to work. More than 20% of non-workers are willing to take a 10% reduction in wages and more than 10% are willing to take 20% reduction in wages.”

“Motivated by the recent evidence that part-time options are relatively more common among post-career bridge jobs (Maestas 2010, Rupert and Zanella 2015, and Ramnath et al. 2017), the strategic survey questions also included a scenario where the job opportunity allows respondents to choose the number of hours worked. The survey responses reveal strong preferences for a flexible work schedule among older Americans. The acceptance rate for the hypothetical job opportunity is substantially higher under a flexible work schedule than a fixed work schedule (yellow bars in Figure 1 indicate the increases in the acceptance rate in the flexible schedule compared to the fixed schedule). Perhaps the most striking finding, more than half of the current non-workers would be willing to work again if they could choose the number of hours worked and earned the same hourly wage as in their most recent job. About 40% of them would be willing to take a 10% reduction in hourly wage, and about 20% would be willing to take a 20% reduction in hourly wage, to work under a flexible schedule if other conditions were similar to their most recent job. “

Posted by at 5:48 PM

Labels: Inclusive Growth


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