Older male labour force participation in OECD countries: pension reform and "the reserve army of labour"
Many governments have treated older workers as a “reserve army of labour”, allowing early exit from the labour force by various means, so the OECD recommends that the fiscal strain associated with population ageing be addressed through pension reform to increase older workers’ labour force participation. Modelling the labour force participation of males aged 55–59 and 60–64 in 12 OECD countries over the period 1967–2007, the author finds that labour market variables dominate pension reform variables – and country-specific causal factors also – in explaining older males’ participation rates. Without consideration of labour market conditions, the OECD’s standard prescription of pension reform would thus seem doomed to fail.
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