Phasing out: routine tasks and retirement

Population ageing poses new challenges to the sustainability of the pension system and possibly to economic growth in advanced economies. In such context, calls are made to increase participation of workers close to their retirement age. Ageing occurs in a period where technological progress has changed the patterns of labor demand, away from physically demanding tasks (opportunity) and into more cognitive-interpersonal type of tasks (challenge). To understand the net effect, we analyze the relation between automation and labor supply of older workers. We explore whether exposure to technological change, measured by the task content of jobs, was connected to labor supply of older workers in Germany and Great Britain. Using panel data, we show that the adjustment in the number of hours of workers in occupations exposed to automation was small, and only negative for a subset of workers. The exposure to automation is related to somehow earlier retirement, but the size of the relation is small.