Research Topic

Psychological Mechanisms that Affect Economic Decisions to Work Longer

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About this Research Topic

Progressive aging of the Baby Boomer generation, early workplace withdrawals and international trends towards longevity place increasing pressure on governments to provide economic solutions. One possibility involves promoting financial self-sufficiency and shifting responsibility from governments back to ...

Progressive aging of the Baby Boomer generation, early workplace withdrawals and international trends towards longevity place increasing pressure on governments to provide economic solutions. One possibility involves promoting financial self-sufficiency and shifting responsibility from governments back to individuals. This involves, in part, promoting the abolishment of mandatory retirement ages and devising strategies to keep people at work for longer. At an individual level choosing how and when to transition can deliver psychological benefits while continuing to work provides opportunities to remain socially and intellectually connected.

There are also obvious economic benefits for disadvantaged groups such as women, immigrants and less qualified workers who may be ill equipped to retire comfortably. When combined these sufficiently motivate the pursuit of solutions that overcome constraints and encourage later life employment. There are, however, two sets of competing demands, namely balancing the desire and economic demand to work longer within current contemporary workplace designs and the cognitive, physical and psychological capacities of workers to fulfill these demands indefinitely. The study of the psychological mechanisms that underlie economic behavior may increase our understanding of how bridge employment opportunities, flexible work schedules, training to move to new careers, and starting new business and franchisees might result in higher proportions of older workers remaining in the labor market. Such an approach is expected to lead to a better understanding of employer attitudes and responses to older workers with innovative workplace and human factors that encourage more years of labor force participation.

This Research Topic welcomes manuscripts that offer insights into the preferences, judgments, attitudes, and choices that influence economic processes and phenomena related to facilitating later life work, improving retirement planning and addressing employer concerns about retaining older workers, with an international focus. Our proposal is to showcase contemporary proposals and rigorous empirical studies that enlighten our thinking and support novel strategies to help overcome both employer and employee constraints.

We are especially interested in papers that:
• Include multilevel analyses on factors related to extending working life, considering simultaneously individual, group, family, community and societal based relationships;
• Theorize and test mediators/moderators of relationships between psychological and financial/economic variables and phenomena;
• Explain older workers and entrepreneurs career choices and decision making about transitioning;
• Propose job designs and human factors solutions that encourage participation at work for longer;
• Provide empirical evidence about cognitive, physical and psychological capacity to continue working longer;
• Study how cultural diversity influences proximal process and distal outcome variables at the within-person, between-person, group/team, and firm levels of analysis.

We will consider several types of submissions including (mini-)reviews, conceptual papers, opinion pieces, and methodological articles. However, we are particularly interested in original research articles that advance our understanding of these issues. Likewise, we encourage authors to engage various methodologies, including meta-analysis, laboratory/field experiments, evaluations of interventions, ecological momentary assessments/experience sampling designs, experimental vignette studies, longitudinal/panel studies, and qualitative/mixed methodologies. We also encourage the re-analysis of publicly available datasets and urge conceptual and constructive replications. We encourage the submission of studies with high statistical power including those with null findings but sufficient statistical power and appropriate study designs.


Keywords: Economic Psychology, Financial Planning, Working Life, Retirement, Employment, Entrepreneurship, Franchisees


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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