Older Americans Would Work Longer If Jobs Were Flexible

Older Americans Would Work Longer If Jobs Were Flexible

By John Ameriks, Joseph Briggs, Andrew Caplin, Minjoon Lee, Matthew D. Shapiro, Christopher Tonetti
October 2,2018Working Paper No. 3743

Older Americans, even those who are long retired, have strong willingness to work, especially in jobs with flexible schedules. For many, labor force participation near or after normal retirement age is limited more by a lack of acceptable job opportunities or low expectations about finding them than by unwillingness to work longer. This paper establishes these findings using an approach to identification based on strategic survey questions (SSQs), purpose-designed to complement behavioral data. These findings suggest that demand-side factors are important in explaining late-in-life labor market behavior and need to be considered in designing policies aimed at promoting working longer.