Adjusting for Life Expectancy in Measures of Labor Force Participation

Brief

Adjusting for Life Expectancy in Measures of Labor Force Participation

Abstract

This essay argues that longer life expectancy must be taken into account when contrasting current labor force participation rates to those of the past. In explaining that todays 65-year-old is comparable to a 60-year-old in 1960, the authors illustrate how changing life expectancies complicate the task of measuring and qualifying labor force participation. They also describe how since 1940 improved health standards, the decline of physical labor, a lowered retirement age, and certain public policies have affected the age at which people retire.

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