Retirement and productive activity in later life
Authors: Donna Dosman, Janet Fast, Sherry Anne Chapman, and Norah Keating
It is commonly believed that as people age and leave the labor force, they disengage from productive activity and become dependent. While consistent with the conventional economic view of what constitutes productive activity, this belief is inconsistent with a more contemporary view that unpaid work (domestic, volunteer, and caring work) is equally economically valuable (i.e., productive). We investigate differences in how people allocate time among productive and other activities pre- and post-retirement. Results indicate that people remain engaged in productive activities even as they move out of the labor force, substituting unpaid for paid work. Only respondents who have exceeded their normal life expectancy greatly reduce their productive activity. Evidence suggests a need to revisit assumptions underlying policy debate on population aging.
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