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Work-Life Balance and Labor Force Attachment at Older Ages
WP 2017-366
Marco Angrisani, Maria Casanova, and Erik Meijer

  • We use data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) to investigate the relationship between Work-Life Balance (WLB) and retirement transitions conditional on job attributes such as hours of work, compensation and benefits. We also examine how responses to a spouse’s health shock differ by WLB levels before the onset of the shock.
  • Our results show that WLB is significantly associated with labor force transitions among older workers. On average, higher levels of perceived work-life conflicts relate to a higher likelihood that full- and part-time workers retire within two years.
  • We find that WLB moderates labor supply responses to a spouse’s health shock, especially for women. Among female workers, the probability to move from full-time to part-time employment and from part-time employment to retirement after a spousal health shock increases significantly with the perceived level of work-life interference.
  • A better understanding of the effect of WLB on retirement behavior, and of the specific life circumstances during which WLB becomes valuable to employees, provides a policy handle to affect workplace arrangements so as to facilitate longer labor force attachment.
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