This paper investigates the age-dependency of participation and unemployment by integrating job search with intertemporal optimizing behavior of finitely-lived households. We find that search frictions and tax rates distort the decisions of older workers to a much larger extent than that of young workers. This finding provides an explanation of the observed fall of participation rates of elder workers as a result of the post-war increase in tax rates and replacement rates. We show that the age pattern of search unemployment does not match observed unemployment and we propose a new concept of ‘voluntary’ unemployment that agrees well with observations.

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Research Centre for Economic Policy (OCFEB)

Bettendorf, L., & Broer, P. (2004). Lifetime labor supply in a search model of unemployment. Retrieved from