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Labor-force participation, policies & practices in an aging America: adaptation essential for a healthy & resilient population

Berkman, Lisa F., Boersch-Supan, Axel and Avendano, Mauricio (2015) Labor-force participation, policies & practices in an aging America: adaptation essential for a healthy & resilient population. Daedalus, 144 (2). pp. 41-54. ISSN 0011-5266

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Identification Number: 10.1162/DAED_a_00329


Population aging in the United States poses challenges to societal institutions while simultaneously creating opportunities to build a more resilient, successful, and cohesive society. Work organization and labor-force participation are central to both the opportunities and challenges posed by our aging society. We argue that expectations about old age have not sufficiently adapted to the reality of aging today. Our institutions need more adaptation in order to successfully face the consequences of demographic change. Although this adaptation needs to focus especially on work patterns among the “younger elderly,” our society has to change its general attitudes toward work organization and labor-force participation, which will have implications for education and health care. We also show that work's beneficial effects on well-being in older ages are often neglected, while the idea that older workers displace younger workers is a misconception emerging from the “lump-of-labor” fallacy. We conclude, therefore, that working at older ages can lead to better quality of life for older people and to a more productive and resilient society overall.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2015 by the American Academy of Arts & Sciences
Divisions: Social Policy
LSE Health
Lifecourse, Ageing & Population Health
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Sets: Departments > Social Policy
Research centres and groups > LSE Health
Research centres and groups > ALPHA (Ageing, Lifecourse and Population Health Analysis)
Date Deposited: 27 May 2015 10:21
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2021 02:35
Funders: National Institute on Aging (5R01AG040248-03), European Research Council (ERC grant 263684)

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