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Working Until Dropping: Employment Behavior of the Elderly in Rural China



In rural areas of many developing countries, including China, people do not have the chance to retire, but rather have to continue working as they age. In this paper, we have two specific objectives. First, we will illustrate the work and retirement patterns of the elderly, and develop a profile of the characteristics of the elderly that work and those that do not. We will describe the work contours both in the formal and informal sectors. Second, we will examine the determinants of work and retirement and attempt to surmise from these the strategies that the elderly use to support themselves when they are old. One finding of interest is that we find evidence of behavior among the elderly that in many cases they are willing to sacrifice their own current consumption and asset accumulation to help make their children more productive so the children will be able to better care for their parents when they are older.

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