Absence of conflict of interest.
Pengcharoen, C., & Shultz, K. S. (2010). The influences on bridge employment decisions. International Journal of Manpower, 31(3), 322-336. doi:10.1108/01437721011050602
- The study examined the impact of work schedule flexibility on retirement outcomes among older workers, where work schedule flexibility was measured as the ability to reduce hours from one’s regular work schedule.
- The study used a statistical model (multinomial logit regression) and the longitudinal data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) from 1992 and 2002 to examine the relationship between reporting work schedule flexibility or inflexibility during the baseline survey and reporting complete retirement, partial retirement, or continued employment at the follow-up survey 10 years later among older workers.
- The study found that individuals who reported work schedule inflexibility in the 1992 were more likely to report completely retired than partially retired in 2002, but when comparing the likelihood of reporting continued employment to complete or partial retirement, there was no difference between older workers reported work schedule flexibility and those who reported inflexibility in 1992.
- The quality of causal evidence presented in this study is low because the authors did not demonstrate that the participants reporting work schedule flexibility were similar to the participants reporting work schedule inflexibility in 1992. This means we are not confident that the estimated effects are attributable to work schedule flexibility; other factors are likely to have contributed.
Features of the Study
The authors used a statistical model (multinomial logit regression) and a longitudinal design to examine the effect of work schedule flexibility on retirement outcomes. Retirement outcomes included complete retirement, partial retirement, and continued employment at the same job. Using data from the HRS, a nationally representative longitudinal survey, the study included 2,868 men and women age 51 or older and employed for 10 or more years at their current job.
- The study found that reporting work schedule flexibility in 1992 is associated with a higher probability of reporting being completely retired than partially retired in 2002. There were no associations between work schedule flexibility and retirement outcome when comparing completely retired or partially retired with continued employment.
Considerations for Interpreting the Findings
Although the study used statistical methods (regression modeling), the authors did not account for other factors that could have affected the difference between the groups being compared. The study did not control for race, and did not account for self-selection into jobs with work schedule flexibility. The existing differences between the group that reported having work schedule flexibility and the group reporting work schedule inflexibility could explain the observed differences in outcomes.
Causal Evidence Rating
The quality of causal evidence presented in this study is low because the authors did not control for race or demonstrate that workers reporting work schedule flexibility were equivalent to workers reporting work schedule inflexibility. This means we are not confident that the estimated effects are attributable to work schedule flexibility; other factors are likely to have contributed.