Research Group

Labor Demography

Research Area

Labor-Force Participation and Life-Course Dynamics

Keywords: Economics, Employment, Retirement; Life Course; Demographic Change; Projections and Forecasting

In many developed countries, the size and the composition of the workforce have changed considerably. This is due to demographic developments affecting the age structure; changes in the educational attainment of the population; and changes in labor-force participation patterns, such as increases in female labor-force participation rates. Even though changes in the workforce and labor-force participation levels have received considerable interest in recent years, many open questions remain, partly due to methodological challenges. For example, the relationship between labor-force participation and health is not well understood because health affects participation and vice versa; thus making it difficult to disentangle causal pathways.

This research area tackles these issues. We study the relationship between labor-force participation and major phases and transitions in the life course by analyzing participation as both the treatment and the outcome of life-course trajectories. One focus is on health outcomes. For example, cognitive functioning and disability are related to early life conditions, prime working-age career trajectories, and labor supply among the elderly. Quality of work and well-being is another focus. Moreover, we study the main drivers of trends in labor-force participation, and forecast its future development.

Analyses are conducted at both the macro and the micro levels using data collections and time series of official statistics, as well as survey and register data. Whenever possible, we apply state-of-the-art methods for causal inference that exploit exogenous variation, such as in natural experiments. To forecast future trends in labor-force participation, we will explore the potential of Bayesian approaches.

Projects of this Research Area: