Do State Economics or Individual Characteristics Determine Whether Older Men Work?

Source: Alicia H. Munnell, Mauricio Soto, Robert Triest, and Natalia Zhivan, Center for
Retirement Research, Issue Brief 38-13, September 2008

The brief’s key findings are:
• Work effort of men 55-64 varies enormously by state, ranging from 40 percent in West Virginia to nearly 90 percent in South Dakota.
• Those who are out of the labor force before 65 have no obvious source of health insurance and may be ill-prepared for retirement.
• Individual characteristics, such as health, are more influential in determining whether an individual man is working than state characteristics, such as the unemployment rate.
• However, state characteristics do have some effect on work effort even after accounting for individual characteristics.
• On balance, the best way to boost employment of older men is to target types of individuals rather than state-specific conditions.
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Working paper

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