Given that demographic trends in economically advanced industrial countries such as our own continue to shift toward increasingly older, formally retired populations, we need to find ways to keep more of this older retired population productive. Economists and others differ in their estimation regarding the ability and/or willingness on part of the retired to retain, let alone utilize the know-how, the human capital accumulated prior to retirement. This is as true for those who have spent their work life engaged in producing and communicating new ideas and synthesizing and diffusing what is known, those who have accumulated what I term high level human capital, as other members of the community of retired people. In this paper, the first of a series, I compare the pre and post retirement research productivity of a sample of retired faculty drawn from various institutions of higher education. I also present data regarding the post retirement teaching activities of this cadre of retired academics. While there is appreciable variation in both continued research and teaching activities among this sample, I find that aging and retirement has had some, but not an appreciable impact on their ability or interest in remaining research productive and, for a somewhat smaller group of academics, many of whom note that teaching provided them with their greatest enjoyment during pre retirement, engagement in teaching continues to remain a major post retirement activity, undiminished by the passage of time spent in retirement. My data also permits commenting upon the impact made on the retirement age of faculty by the cessation of the federally mandated age of retirement law enacted at the end of 1993.
Gershenberg, Irving, "Retirement and High Level Human Capital" (2003). Gerontology Institute Publications. Paper 10.