Chapter 13 - Evolving Patterns of Work and Retirement

Kevin E. Cahill, Michael D. Giandrea, Joseph F. Quinn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

10 Scopus citations


This chapter describes how the retirement patterns of older Americans have evolved since the turn of the last century. From the early 1900s to the mid-1980s, as the country grew more prosperous, Americans spent a portion of their increased wealth on additional leisure later in life in the form of earlier retirements. Since the mid-1980s, however, both older men and women have been working longer than prior trends would have predicted, largely in response to changes in economic incentives that favored work over leisure. The pathways to labor force exit have evolved as well. The stereotypical one-step view of retirement fails to capture the reality for most Americans, for whom retirement is not a single event, but rather a process. In the future, the strains of an aging society suggest that retirement patterns will continue to evolve, with continued work later in life playing a key role.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Aging and the Social Sciences
Subtitle of host publicationEighth Edition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)9780124172357
StatePublished - Sep 8 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Defined-contribution plan
  • Macroeconomic influence
  • Retirement income
  • Retirement patterns
  • Social Security

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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