De Economist

, Volume 157, Issue 4, pp 441–460 | Cite as

Will You Still Need Me: When I’m 64?

Open Access
Article

Summary

For various reasons the relationship between age and productivity is a matter of policy concern. I present new empirical research showing how productivity is affected by age. I study age effects at the individual level by analyzing data on running and publishing in economic journals. Furthermore I present empirical evidence at the firm level on the relationship between age, wage and productivity. In particular I address the potential wage-productivity gap that might occur at higher ages. I conclude that the productivity of older workers indeed decreases with their age. Nevertheless, the decline is limited. Furthermore, I find no evidence of a pay-productivity gap at higher ages.

Keywords

age productivity matched worker-firm data 

JEL Code(s)

J14 J24 J31 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Excellent research assistance of Willemijn van den Berg and Lenny Stoeldraijer is gratefully acknowledged. The analysis of the age-wage-productivity relationship using matched worker-firm data is part of research sponsored by the Netherlands Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment. I thank the Ministry for their generous financial support. The matched worker-firm data were made available through a remote access facility by Statistics Netherlands. I thank Paul van Seters for making his personal running data available for analysis. I also thank participants of the ESPE conference, workshops at University of Melbourne and Deakin University and Guyonne Kalb, Peter Kooreman and Daniel van Vuuren for their comments.

Open Access

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

References

  1. Aubert, P. (2003), ‘Productivity, Wage and Demand for Elder Workers; An Examination on French Matched Employer–Employee Data’, Working Paper INSEE, Paris.Google Scholar
  2. Aubert, P. and B. Crépon (2007), ‘Are Older Workers Less Productive?, Firm-Level Evidence on Age-Productivity and Age-Wage Profiles, Mimeo (French version published’, in: Economie et Statistique, 2003, 368, pp. 95–119).Google Scholar
  3. Börsch-Supan, A., I. Düzgün, and M. Weiss (2007), Age and Productivity in Work Teams: Evidence from the Assembly Line, MEA Discussion Paper, University of Mannheim.Google Scholar
  4. Dostie, B. (2006), Wages, Productivity and Aging, Working Paper Institute of Applied Economics, Montreal.Google Scholar
  5. Fair R.C. (1994) ‘How Fast Do Old Men Slow Down?’ Review of Economics and Statistics 76: 103–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Garibaldi, P., J. Oliveira Martins, and J. C. van Ours (2010), Health, Longevity and Productivity, Oxford University Press, forthcoming.Google Scholar
  7. Ilmakunnas P., Maliranta M. (2005) ‘Technology, Worker Characteristics, and Wage-Productivity Gaps’. Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics 67: 623–645CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Ilmakunnas, P. and M. Maliranta (2007), ‘Aging, Labor Turnover and Firm Performance, Discussion Paper Research Institute of the Finnish Economy, Helsinki.Google Scholar
  9. Johnson P. (1993) ‘Aging and European economic demography’. In: Johnson P., Zimmermann K.F. (eds) Labor Markets in an Aging Europe. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  10. Kalaitzidakis P., Mamuneas T., Stengos T. (2003) ‘Ranking of Academic Journals and Institutions in Economics’. Journal of the European Economic Association 1: 1346–1366CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Lallemand T., Ryckx F. (2009) ‘Are Older Workers Harmful for Firm Productivity?’ De Economist 157: 273–292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Lazear E. (1979) ‘Why is There Mandatory Retirement?’ Journal of Political Economy 87: 1261–1284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Loewenstein G., Sicherman N. (1991) ‘Do Workers Prefer Increasing Profiles?’ Journal of Labor Economics 9: 67–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Malmberg B., Lindh T., Halvarsson M. (2008) ‘Productivity Consequences of Workforce Aging: Stagnation or Horndal Effect?’ Population and Development Review, 34: 238–256Google Scholar
  15. Neary J.P., Mirrlees J.A., Tirole J. (2003) ‘Evaluating Economics Research in Europe: An Introduction’. Journal of the European Economic Association 1: 1239–1249CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. OECD (2006), Live Longer, Work Longer, Paris.Google Scholar
  17. Oster S.M., Hamermesh D.S. (1998) ‘Aging and Productivity Among Economists’. Review of Economics and Statistics 80(1): 154–156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Oswald A.J. (2007) An Examination of the Reliability of Prestigious Scholarly Journals: Evidence and Implications for Decision-Makers’. Economica 74: 21–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Sterken E. (2003) ‘From the Cradle to the Grave: How Fast Can We Run?’ Journal of Sports Science 21: 479–491CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Van Ours, J. C. and G. Ridder (2003), ‘Fast Track or Failure: A Study of the Graduation and Dropout Rates of Ph.D. Students in Economics’. Economics of Education Review, 22, pp. 157–166.Google Scholar
  21. Van Ours J.C., Vermeulen F. (2007) ‘Ranking Dutch Economists’. De Economist 155: 469–487CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Van Ours, J. C. and L. Stoeldraijer (2010), Age, Wage and Productivity, Discussion Paper, CentER, Tilburg University, forthcoming.Google Scholar
  23. Van Vuuren, D. and P. de Hek (2009), ‘Firms, Workers, and Life-Cycle Wage Profiles’, in: R. Euwals, R. de Mooij, and D. van Vuuren (eds.), Rethinking Retirement, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, The Hague.Google Scholar
  24. Weiss Y. (1985) ‘The Effect of Labor Unions on Investment in Training: A Dynamic Model’. Journal of Political Economy 93: 994–1007CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics, CentERTilburg UniversityTilburgThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.CEPRLondonUK

Personalised recommendations