Race and Education Differences in Disability Status and Labor Force Attachment in the Health and Retirement Survey

The labor force participation rates of older, working-aged black men and men with lower levels of education have historically been significantly lower than those of white men and men with more education, respectively. This paper uses data from the alpha release of the new Health and Retirement Survey (HRS) to examine the extent to which variation in health and job characteristics can account for these differences. This analysis suggests that race and education differences in the health status of middle-aged men can explain a substantial fraction of black/white differences in labor force attachment and essentially all of the gap between men with different levels of education.

Dataset used: Health and Retirement Survey: U.S.