Overtime: America's Aging Workforce and the Future of Working Longer

Upjohn Author ORCID Identifier


Publication Date



Oxford University Press


America is at a crossroads in its approach to work and retirement.

Many policymakers think it's logical--almost inevitable--that Americans will delay retirement and spend more years in the paid labor force. But it's an assumption that doesn't match the reality faced by a large and growing proportion of Americans. Though in many ways today's middle-aged adults are less financially prepared for retirement than today's retirees, precarious working conditions, family caregiving responsibilities, poor health, and age discrimination will make it difficult or impossible for many to work longer.

Overtime offers a current, revelatory corrective to our understanding of the future of the American workforce and aging. Experts across economics, sociology, psychology, political science, and epidemiology examine how increasing economic and social inequalities, coupled with changes across generations or birth cohorts, call for a rethinking of the working-longer policy framework. The contributors examine trends and inequalities in employment, health, family dynamics, and politics, helping to shed light on the challenges faced by traditionally marginalized social groups while showing that our society's responses to an aging workforce affect us all. Together, they argue that policies affecting work must be considered alongside policies affecting retirement and provide a path forward to achieve better retirement security for all Americans.

Drawing on the deep and varied expertise of its contributors, Overtime critically questions the conventional thinking of policy makers in this space to chart a more likely course for older Americans in the twenty-first century--one less reductive than simply "working longer."


Alfred P. Sloan Foundation



Subject Areas

LABOR MARKET ISSUES; Retirement and pensions; Wages, health insurance and other benefits; International labor comparisons