Myth of the Industrial Scrap Heap: A Revisionist View of Turn-of-The- Century American Retirement

46 Pages Posted: 15 Sep 2010 Last revised: 15 Sep 2021

See all articles by Susan B. Carter

Susan B. Carter

University of California, Riverside

Richard C. Sutch

University of California, Riverside and Berkeley; University of California, Berkeley; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: October 1995

Abstract

Using the census survival method to calculate net flows across employment states between 1900 and 1910, we find that approximately one-fifth of all men who reached the age of 55 eventually retired before their death. Many of these retirees appear to have planned their withdrawal from paid employment by accumulating assets, becoming self-employed, and then liquidating their assets to provide a stream of income to finance consumption in old age. This `modern' retirement behavior, we argue, has important implications for the economic history of capital and labor markets, of saving and investment, of insurance and pensions, and of the family economy.

Suggested Citation

Carter, Susan B. and Sutch, Richard C., Myth of the Industrial Scrap Heap: A Revisionist View of Turn-of-The- Century American Retirement (October 1995). NBER Working Paper No. h0073, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1677245

Susan B. Carter (Contact Author)

University of California, Riverside ( email )

CA
United States

Richard C. Sutch

University of California, Riverside and Berkeley ( email )

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(909) 787-5037 x1501 (Phone)
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University of California, Berkeley ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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