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The Bargaining Power of Older Workers and the US Labor Market

October 9, 20194:00 pm6:00 pm

Workers over age 55 are projected to fill more than half of the 11.4 million net new jobs created between 2016 and 2026. Despite their numbers, older workers’ bargaining power in the labor market has been declining, threatening to suppress wages and working conditions for all workers.

Ghilarducci, a nationally-recognized expert in retirement security, will discuss seven reasons older workers have lost bargaining power:

  1. Eroding retirement income security;
  2. Decline of unions;
  3. More insecure employment relationships;
  4. Persistent age discrimination;
  5. Geographical immobility;
  6. Ineligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC); and
  7. Older workers’ relative propensity to work for smaller firms.


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About the Speaker

Teresa Ghilarducci is a labor economist and nationally-recognized expert in retirement security. She is the Bernard L. and Irene Schwartz professor of economics at The New School for Social Research and the Director of the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA) and The New School’s Retirement Equity Lab (ReLab).

About the Discussants

Nari Rhee, Ph.D., is Director of the Retirement Security Program at the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education. Her current research focuses on the retirement crisis facing California and the US in the context of declining pension coverage, and policies to improve the retirement income prospects of low- and middle- wage workers.

Danny Yagan is an economics professor at UC Berkeley, faculty research fellow of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and faculty director of the taxation and inequality initiative of the Berkeley Opportunity Lab. His research uses large datasets and natural experiments to study U.S. tax policy, business investment, income inequality, upward mobility, and recession recovery.