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Quantifying policy tradeoffs to support aging populations

March 25, 2014 Comments off

Quantifying policy tradeoffs to support aging populations
Source: Demographic Research

Background:
Coping with aging populations is a challenge for most developed countries. Supporting non-working adults can create an unsustainable burden on those working. One way of dealing with this is to raise the normal pension age, but this has proven unpopular. A complementary approach is to raise the average labor force participation rate. These policies are generally more politically palatable because they often remove barriers, allowing people who would like to work to do so.

Objective:
To conceptualize and estimate the trade-off between pension age and labor force participation rate policies.

Methods: We project the populations of European countries and apply different levels of labor force participation rates to the projected populations. We introduce the notion of a relative burden, which is the ratio of the fraction of the income of people in the labor market in 2050 that they transfer to adults out of the labor market to the same fraction in 2009. We use this indicator to investigate the trade-offs between changes in normal pension ages and the general level of labor force participation rates.

Results:
We show that, in most European countries, a difference in policies that results in an increase in average labor force participation rates by an additional one to two percentage points by 2050 can substitute for a one-year increase in the normal pension age. This is important because, in many European countries, without additional increases in labor force participation rates, normal pension ages would have to be raised well above 68 by 2050 to keep the burden on those working manageable.

Conclusions:
Because of anticipated increases in life expectancy and health at older ages as well as because of financial necessity, some mix of increases in pension ages and in labor force participation rates will be needed. Pension age changes by themselves will not be sufficient.

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A cohort component analysis of the 2007–2009 recession

March 21, 2014 Comments off

A cohort component analysis of the 2007–2009 recession
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

A model of employment change between 2007 and 2010 in the absence of the recession was compared with actual employment change as measured by the Current Population Survey. Not surprisingly, results show that actual employment was lower than the model predicted for all age groups; however, differences were much larger for younger workers. Full-time employment was much lower than the model predicted, while part-time employment was much higher. Actual employment change varied widely among occupation and industry groups, but nearly all groups had employment that was lower than the model predicted.

The Health Consequences of Senior Hunger in the United States: Evidence from the 1999-2010 NHANES

March 20, 2014 Comments off

The Health Consequences of Senior Hunger in the United States: Evidence from the 1999-2010 NHANES (PDF)
Source: National Foundation to End Senior Hunger

Millions of seniors are food insecure in the United States, meaning that scores do not have access to enough food at all times for an active, healthy life. What makes food insecurity an even more pressing issue is its association with a wide array of negative nutrition and health consequences. In our earlier reports on food insecurity among seniors (Ziliak et al., 2008; Ziliak and Gundersen, 2011) we documented that food insecure seniors, even after controlling for other factors, were at higher risk of experiencing negative nutrition and health consequences than food secure seniors.

In this report we build on those earlier findings in three main directions. Namely, we add in several new health outcomes; we use four more years of data ; and we examine how trends in health and nutrition outcomes among food secure and food insecure seniors have changed over the past decade. Using data from the 1999-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), we considered the following outcomes related to nutrient intakes: energy intake, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, and iron. The set of health outcomes we analyzed were diabetes, general health , depression, diabetes, ADL limitations, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, congestive heart failure, coronary heart disease, cancer, reports of chest pain, gum disease, psoriasis, asthma, having had a heart attack, and a self-report of gum health. Here we summarize some of our principal findings.

Gender Differences in Self-employment of Older Workers in the United States and New Zealand

March 20, 2014 Comments off

Gender Differences in Self-employment of Older Workers in the United States and New Zealand (PDF)
Source: Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare

This study examined differences in self-employment of workers age 50+ in the United States (N = 3,948) and New Zealand (N = 1,434). Separate logistic regression analyses were conducted by country and gender. For both U.S. men and women, lower income, higher wealth, and having an employed spouse increased the likelihood of self-employment. Older age, lower income, higher wealth, and household composition increased the odds of being self-employed for men in New Zealand. Women in New Zealand were more likely to be self-employed if they were in a blue-collar occupation, had higher household wealth, higher education, and did not receive pension income. Selfemployment can enable older adults to remain in the labor force longer, thereby fostering continued productivity and engagement.

The Miracle Drugs: Hormone Replacement Therapy and Labor Market Behavior of Middle-Aged Women

March 20, 2014 Comments off

The Miracle Drugs: Hormone Replacement Therapy and Labor Market Behavior of Middle-Aged Women (PDF)
Source: Institute for the Study of Labor

In an aging society, determining which factors contribute to the employment of older individuals is increasingly important. We examine the impact of medical innovations on the employment of middle-aged women focusing on the specific case of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), a common treatment for the alleviation of negative menopausal symptoms. HRT medications were among the most popular prescriptions in the United States until 2002 when the Women’s Health Initiative Study – the largest randomized control trial on women ever undertaken – documented the health risks associated with their long term use. We exploit the release of these findings within a Fixed Effect Instrumental Variable framework to address the endogeneity in HRT use. Our results indicate substantial benefits of HRT use to the short-term employment of middle-aged women.

Social Media Is Part of Today’s Workplace but its Use May Raise Employment Discrimination Concerns

March 18, 2014 Comments off

Social Media Is Part of Today’s Workplace but its Use May Raise Employment Discrimination Concerns
Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

The use of social media has become pervasive in today’s workplace and, as a result, is having an impact on the enforcement of federal laws, a panel of experts told the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) at a meeting held today at EEOC Headquarters in Washington. The meeting was convened to gather information about the growing use of social media and how it impacts the laws the EEOC enforces.

The use of sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook can provide a valuable tool for identifying good candidates by searching for specific qualifications, panelists told the Commission. But the improper use of information obtained from such sites may be discriminatory since most individuals’ race, gender, general age and possibly ethnicity can be discerned from information on these sites.

Potential Therapeutic Competition in Community-Living Older Adults in the U.S.: Use of Medications That May Adversely Affect a Coexisting Condition

March 18, 2014 Comments off

Potential Therapeutic Competition in Community-Living Older Adults in the U.S.: Use of Medications That May Adversely Affect a Coexisting Condition
Source: PLoS ONE

Objective
The 75% of older adults with multiple chronic conditions are at risk of therapeutic competition (i.e. treatment for one condition may adversely affect a coexisting condition). The objective was to determine the prevalence of potential therapeutic competition in community-living older adults.

Methods
Cross-sectional descriptive study of a representative sample of 5,815 community-living adults 65 and older in the U.S, enrolled 2007–2009. The 14 most common chronic conditions treated with at least one medication were ascertained from Medicare claims. Medication classes recommended in national disease guidelines for these conditions and used by ≥2% of participants were identified from in-person interviews conducted 2008–2010. Criteria for potential therapeutic competition included: 1), well-acknowledged adverse medication effect; 2) mention in disease guidelines; or 3) report in a systematic review or two studies published since 2000. Outcomes included prevalence of situations of potential therapeutic competition and frequency of use of the medication in individuals with and without the competing condition.

Results
Of 27 medication classes, 15 (55.5%) recommended for one study condition may adversely affect other study conditions. Among 91 possible pairs of study chronic conditions, 25 (27.5%) have at least one potential therapeutic competition. Among participants, 1,313 (22.6%) received at least one medication that may worsen a coexisting condition; 753 (13%) had multiple pairs of such competing conditions. For example, among 846 participants with hypertension and COPD, 16.2% used a nonselective beta-blocker. In only 6 of 37 cases (16.2%) of potential therapeutic competition were those with the competing condition less likely to receive the medication than those without the competing condition.

Conclusions
One fifth of older Americans receive medications that may adversely affect coexisting conditions. Determining clinical outcomes in these situations is a research and clinical priority. Effects on coexisting conditions should be considered when prescribing medications.

See: One in 5 older Americans take medications that work against each other (EurekAlert!)

2014 Social Security Quick Fact Sheets

March 14, 2014 Comments off

2014 Social Security Quick Fact Sheets
Source: AARP Research

This set of fact sheets and easy-to-read corresponding infographics provides a one-page overview of quick facts on Social Security benefits and beneficiaries for each of the 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia.

Information is provided about each state’s older population, Social Security beneficiaries, Social Security benefits, Social Security’s role in lifting retirees out of poverty, Social Security’s impact on the state economy, and the Percent of Social Security as the only source of income among older residents.

Intergenerational Redistribution in the Great Recession

March 14, 2014 Comments off

Intergenerational Redistribution in the Great Recession
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

In this paper we construct a stochastic overlapping-generations general equilibrium model in which households are subject to aggregate shocks that affect both wages and asset prices. We use a calibrated version of the model to quantify how the welfare costs of severe recessions are distributed across different household age groups. The model predicts that younger cohorts fare better than older cohorts when the equilibrium decline in asset prices is large relative to the decline in wages, as observed in the data. Asset price declines hurt the old, who rely on asset sales to finance consumption, but they benefit the young, who purchase assets at depressed prices. In our preferred calibration, asset prices decline close to three times as much as wages, consistent with the experience of the U.S. economy in the Great Recession. A model recession is almost welfare-neutral for households in the 20–29 age group, but translates into a large welfare loss of around 10 percent of lifetime consumption for households aged 70 and over.

Is 75 the new 65? Rising to the challenge of an ageing workforce

March 12, 2014 Comments off

Is 75 the new 65? Rising to the challenge of an ageing workforce
Source: Towers Watson

+ By 2020, managing an ageing workforce moves up the HR agenda, from just the number seven issue for today, to a top three concern for survey respondents.

+ As a result of the ageing workforce, almost half (43%) expect greater employee demand for benefits and over a third (35%) expect increased flexible working.

+ Nearly half (43%) of employers also expect employee demand for healthcare and retirement provision to grow.

National Association of REALTORS® Generational Trends Study Shows Confidence in Market, Some Challenges

March 12, 2014 Comments off

NAR Generational Trends Study Shows Confidence in Market, Some Challenges
Source: National Association of REALTORS®

Young home buyers remain optimistic and see their home as a good investment, while older buyers are more likely to trade down to a smaller property to match changing lifestyles, according to the 2014 National Association of Realtors® Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study, which evaluates the generational differences of recent home buyers and sellers.

Eight out of 10 recent buyers considered their home purchase a good financial investment, ranging from 87 percent for buyers age 33 and younger, to 74 percent for buyers 68 and older.

The Impact of Aging Baby Boomers on Labor Force Participation

March 7, 2014 Comments off

The Impact of Aging Baby Boomers on Labor Force Participation
Source: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College

The brief’s key findings are:

  • Older people have lower labor force participation rates than younger adults, so aging baby boomers are pushing down overall participation.
  • This aging effect accounts for more than 40 percent of the decline since the onset of the Great Recession.
  • An aging population also lowers unemployment slightly because older individuals who remain in the labor force are more likely to have a job.
  • The aging trend will continue for the rest of the decade and will show up in monthly labor force statistics.

EU — Quantifying policy tradeoffs to support aging populations

March 6, 2014 Comments off

Quantifying policy tradeoffs to support aging populations
Source: Demographic Research

Background:
Coping with aging populations is a challenge for most developed countries. Supporting non-working adults can create an unsustainable burden on those working. One way of dealing with this is to raise the normal pension age, but this has proven unpopular. A complementary approach is to raise the average labor force participation rate. These policies are generally more politically palatable because they often remove barriers, allowing people who would like to work to do so.

Objective:
To conceptualize and estimate the trade-off between pension age and labor force participation rate policies.

Methods:
We project the populations of European countries and apply different levels of labor force participation rates to the projected populations. We introduce the notion of a relative burden, which is the ratio of the fraction of the income of people in the labor market in 2050 that they transfer to adults out of the labor market to the same fraction in 2009. We use this indicator to investigate the trade-offs between changes in normal pension ages and the general level of labor force participation rates.

Results:
We show that, in most European countries, a difference in policies that results in an increase in average labor force participation rates by an additional one to two percentage points by 2050 can substitute for a one-year increase in the normal pension age. This is important because, in many European countries, without additional increases in labor force participation rates, normal pension ages would have to be raised well above 68 by 2050 to keep the burden on those working manageable.

Conclusions:
Because of anticipated increases in life expectancy and health at older ages as well as because of financial necessity, some mix of increases in pension ages and in labor force participation rates will be needed. Pension age changes by themselves will not be sufficient.

Age and Scientific Genius

March 5, 2014 Comments off

Age and Scientific Genius
Source: National Bureau of Economic Research

Great scientific output typically peaks in middle age. A classic literature has emphasized comparisons across fields in the age of peak performance. More recent work highlights large underlying variation in age and creativity patterns, where the average age of great scientific contributions has risen substantially since the early 20th Century and some scientists make pioneering contributions much earlier or later in their life-cycle than others. We review these literatures and show how the nexus between age and great scientific insight can inform the nature of creativity, the mechanisms of scientific progress, and the design of institutions that support scientists, while providing further insights about the implications of aging populations, education policies, and economic growth.

ERC Documents Discrimination against Older Same-Sex Couples

February 28, 2014 Comments off

ERC Documents Discrimination against Older Same-Sex Couples
Source: Equal Rights Center

Today the Equal Rights Center (ERC) —a national non-profit civil rights organization headquartered in Washington, D.C.— published the results of a 10-state testing-based investigation documenting adverse differential treatment against older same-sex couples seeking housing in senior living facilities.

The report, titled “Opening Doors: An Investigation of Barriers to Senior Housing for Same-Sex Couples,” documents the results of 200 matched-pair telephone tests conducted by the ERC in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington. In 96 of the 200 tests (48 percent), a tester inquiring about housing in a senior living facility for a same-sex couple experienced at least one form of adverse differential treatment, as compared to a counterpart tester inquiring about housing for a heterosexual couple.

AARP Attitudes of Aging Study

February 21, 2014 Comments off

AARP Attitudes of Aging Study
Source: AARP

A two-part study commissioned by AARP the Magazine. Part one was comprised of a Research Day with two three hour sessions consisting of six simultaneous focus groups. The Research Day’s intent was to help direct the quantitative portion of the research by better understanding:

  • How adults age 45+ feel about aging
  • What defines age. Is it the way one looks or the way one feels
  • The impact of the prejudices of aging (ageism)
  • The influence of society’s opinions on their perception of aging
  • The impact of life events on their perception of aging
  • How social connectedness and technology impact their perceptions of aging

Part two was an online survey of 1800 respondents consisting of attitudinal questions to answer the question, ‘What aging attitudes drive the overall satisfaction with life’? Attitudinal questions centered around the following items that were uncovered in part one of the research:

  • Psychological growth and loss
  • Health and physical changes
  • Discrimination and prejudices
  • Physical appearance
  • Traditional and online social networks
  • Technology

Fit for the road: Older drivers’ crash rates continue to drop

February 21, 2014 Comments off

Fit for the road: Older drivers’ crash rates continue to drop
Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Today’s older drivers are not only less likely to be involved in crashes than prior generations, they are less likely to be killed or seriously injured if they do crash, a new Institute study shows. That’s likely because vehicles are safer and seniors are generally healthier. It’s a marked shift that began to take hold in the mid-1990s and indicates that the growing ranks of aging drivers aren’t making U.S. roads deadlier.

UBS Investor Watch Report Reveals Millennials Are As Financially Conservative As Generation Born During Great Depression

February 7, 2014 Comments off

UBS Investor Watch Report Reveals Millennials Are As Financially Conservative As Generation Born During Great Depression
Source: UBS

UBS Wealth Management Americas (WMA) today released its quarterly UBS Investor Watch report (PDF, 1 MB), that shows Millennials (people ages 21-36) are the most fiscally conservative generation since the Great Depression. While Millennials describe their risk tolerance as either conservative or somewhat conservative (34%), their average asset allocation is extremely conservative, with the average portfolio dedicating 52% to cash, compared to 23% cash for other investors.

The majority of Millennials said saving was the best financial advice they had received, while other generations said investing was the best. This Depression Era mentality combined with advice they get from family is turning Millennials into a generation of savers who are skeptical about long-term investing and market chasing. Only 12% of Millennials said they would invest found money in the market, and only 28% see long-term investing as a pathway to success and are focused on meeting their goals instead of a specific market return.

Climate change effects on human health: projections of temperature-related mortality for the UK during the 2020s, 2050s and 2080s

February 5, 2014 Comments off

Climate change effects on human health: projections of temperature-related mortality for the UK during the 2020s, 2050s and 2080s (PDF)
Source: Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health

Background
The most direct way in which climate change is expected to affect public health relates to changes in mortality rates associated with exposure to ambient temperature. Many countries worldwide experience annual heat-related and cold-related deaths associated with current weather patterns. Future changes in climate may alter such risks. Estimates of the likely future health impacts of such changes are needed to inform public health policy on climate change in the UK and elsewhere.

Methods
Time-series regression analysis was used to characterise current temperature-mortality relationships by region and age group. These were then applied to the local climate and population projections to estimate temperature-related deaths for the UK by the 2020s, 2050s and 2080s. Greater variability in future temperatures as well as changes in mean levels was modelled.

Results
A significantly raised risk of heat-related and cold-related mortality was observed in all regions. The elderly were most at risk. In the absence of any adaptation of the population, heat-related deaths would be expected to rise by around 257% by the 2050s from a current annual baseline of around 2000 deaths, and cold-related mortality would decline by 2% from a baseline of around 41 000 deaths. The cold burden remained higher than the heat burden in all periods. The increased number of future temperature-related deaths was partly driven by projected population growth and ageing.

Conclusions
Health protection from hot weather will become increasingly necessary, and measures to reduce cold impacts will also remain important in the UK. The demographic changes expected this century mean that the health protection of the elderly will be vital.

How Long Do Unemployed Older Workers Search for a Job?

February 5, 2014 Comments off

How Long Do Unemployed Older Workers Search for a Job?
Source: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College

The brief’s key findings are:

  • The Great Recession threw many older individuals out of work, so it is important to understand their job search activity.
  • The results show little tolerance for a lengthy search; the vast majority either find a job or exit the labor force within a year.
  • Those with financial resources, such as Social Security, leave even sooner.
  • Interestingly, the strength of the local labor market does not seem to have much impact on the duration of job search.
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