Health and Labor Force Participation over the Life CycleEvidence from the Past

Health and Labor Force Participation over the Life CycleEvidence from the Past

Dora L. Costa

Print publication date: 2013

ISBN: 9780226116181

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

The twentieth century saw significant increases in both life expectancy and retirement rates—changes that have had dramatic impacts on nearly every aspect of society and the economy. Forecasting future trends in health and retirement rates, as we must do now, requires investigation of such long-term trends and their causes. To that end, this book draws on new data—an extensive longitudinal survey of Union Army veterans born between 1820 and 1850—to examine the factors that affected health and labor force participation in nineteenth-century America. Contributors consider the impacts of a variety of conditions—including social class, wealth, occupation, family, and community—on the morbidity and mortality of the group. The chapters investigate and address a number of special topics, including the influence of previous exposure to infectious disease, migration, and community factors such as lead in water mains. They also analyze the roles of income, health, and social class in retirement decisions, paying particular attention to the social context of disability. The book offers a clear view of the workings and complexities of life, death, and labor during the nineteenth century.