Job Demand and Early Retirement in Manufacturing Workers

Sepideh Modrek, Stanford University
Mark Cullen, Stanford University

Policy initiatives such as increases to the full retirement age implicitly reduce benefits for early retirement. Yet research suggest that those in physically demanding jobs may be particularly adversely affected by such policies. We examine to what extent physical job demand relates to the early retirement decisions in a population of aging manufacturing workers. We follow a cohort of approximately 1500 male Alcoa employees aged 47-57 in 1996 followed forward to 2008 and examine whether externally rated physical job demand at middle age is related to early retirement. Next, we propose to use variation in pension generosity due to changes in union negotiations to examine if these changes had any effect on retirement age for those with more physically demanding jobs while considering underlying health, injury history, and 401K accumulation. Preliminary results confirm the role of job demand and finds evidence of selection into job by health.

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Presented in Session 198: Disability and Labor Market Outcomes