Older Workers in an Ageing Society
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Older Workers in an Ageing Society

Critical Topics in Research and Policy

Edited by Philip Taylor

Prolonging working lives is high on the agenda of policy makers in most of the world’s major industrialized nations. This book explains how they are keen to tackle issues associated with the ageing of populations, namely the funding of pension systems and predictions concerning a dwindling labour supply. Yet the recent history of older workers has primarily been one of premature exit from the labour force in the form of redundancy or early retirement. Add to this a previously plentiful supply of younger labour and it is clear that much of industry will be unprepared for the challenges of ageing workforces.
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Chapter 2: Public policy for an ageing workforce: how does the US compare?

Sara E. Rix


Few trends of the second half of the twentieth century were as defining as the labour force withdrawal of older men in developed countries around the world. Although beginning well before World War II, at least in the United States, the decline in labour force participation came to characterize the behaviour of men aged in their 60s and beyond and extended to those (for example aged 55–64) who would not, by anyone except perhaps the young, really be considered old (Figure 2.1). In some developed countries, almost no one aged 65 and older remains in the workforce, but even middle-aged men are far less likely to be in there today than they were a half century ago.

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