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There is great interest among researchers and policymakers in understanding how economic, social, and other factors affect the retirement age of older workers. This paper presents results based on a recent survey fielded in the RAND American Life Panel that queried older workers about their current, desired, and expected job characteristics, as well as about how certain job characteristics would affect their retirement decisions. Having access to flexible work hours was found to be the most consistent predictor of retirement expectations. For example, we estimated that the fraction of individuals working after age 70 would be 32.2% if all workers had flexible hours, while the fraction working would be 17.2% if none had the option of flexible hours. We further found that job stress, physical and cognitive job demands, the option to telecommute, and commuting times were also strong predictors of retirement expectations. By comparing workers' current job characteristics with those that individuals desire in their jobs, we show that people would like preretirement jobs to be less cognitively and physically demanding and more sociable compared to their current jobs. We also find that most workers worry about their health and the demands of their jobs when they think about their future work trajectory, but relatively few were worried that their employers would retain them. Having access to part-time jobs, and expected longevity were less important predictors of retirement.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Data

  • Chapter Three

    Results

  • Chapter Four

    Conclusion

  • Appendix A

    Full output of the regression models

  • Appendix B

    Additional tables

Research conducted by

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