Many western industrialized countries face strong budgetary pressures due to the aging of the baby boom generations and the general trends toward earlier ages of retirement. The authors use the American PSID and the European Community Household Panel (ECHP) to explain differences in prevalence and dynamics of self-reported work disability and labor force status. To that end they specify a two-equation dynamic panel data model describing the dynamics of labor force status and self-reported work disability. When they apply the U.S. parameters to the equations for the thirteen European countries we consider, the result is generally that work disability is lower and employment is higher. Furthermore, measures of employment protection across the different countries suggest that increased employment protection reduces reentry into the labor force and hence is a major factor explaining employment differences in the pre-retirement years.
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