The Effects of Workforce-Shaping Tools on Retirement

The Case of the Department of Defense Civil Service

Published In: Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, v. 15, Suppl. 6, Nov. 2009, p. S64-S72

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2009

by Beth J. Asch, Steven Haider, Julie Zissimopoulos

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A priority area for the public health workforce research agenda is the study of the public health labor market and how wages and benefits affect workforce outcomes, including recruiting, retention, and retirement. This study provides an example of such a study for the Department of Defense civil service workforce. The authors analyze the financial incentives to retire that are specifically embedded in the retirement system and how different workforce-shaping policies would affect these incentives. The study then uses a recently estimated model of the effects of financial incentives on retirement behavior among defense civilians to predict how these workforce-shaping tools would affect retirement behavior. The authors find that buyouts, retention incentives, and other workforce-shaping tools have a sizable effect on predicted retirement behavior and therefore, could be useful policies to help manage retirement outflows.

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