Research Group

Labor Demography

At a Glance Projects Publications Team

Research Area

Labor-Force Participation and Life-Course Dynamics

In many high-income countries, the size and composition of the workforce has 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 has an impact on 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. We also study unpaid work. A major 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. The quality of work and well-being is another focus. Finally, we study the role of human capital as both determinant and outcome of complex life-course trajectories and more generally demographic processes.

Analyses are conducted at both the macro and micro levels, using data collections, time series of official statistics, and 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 novel machine-learning approaches.

Research Keywords:

Demographic Change, Economics, Employment, Retirement, Life Course, Projections and Forecasting

Projects of this Research Area

Determinants and Consequences of Retirement Project details
Unpaid Work Throughout the Life Course Project details
Demographic Perspectives on Human Capital Formation Project details
Economic Well-Being and Life-Course Transitions (Dissertation) Project details
Social, Demographic, and Health Consequences of Job Loss for Individuals and Their Families (Dissertation) Project details
The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.