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date: 26 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In the United States, the labour force participation rate of men over 60 fell continuously from about 65 per cent in 1940 to about 30 per cent by 1980. The reduction in labour force participation was made possible by social security benefits and by firm pension plans. Social security was introduced under the Social Security Act of 1935. Company pensions were spurred by the Revenue Act of 1942 that granted tax incentives to firms to establish pension plans. The per centage of persons 65 and over receiving social security benefits increased from about 20 per cent in 1940 to 85 per cent in 1960; now about 95 per cent receive them. The proportion of the workforce covered by an employer-provided (or a federal or state or local government) pension plan increased from 23.8 to 48.6 per cent between 1950 and 1979, and remains at that level today. The public and private pension plans did just what they were intended to do. They allowed workers to retire with a secure source of income thereafter.

Keywords: early retirement, labour force participation, social security benefits, tax incentives, company pensions, workforce

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