Later-life employment preferences and outcomes: The role of midlife work experiences

James M. Raymo, John R. Warren, Megan M. Sweeney, Robert M. Hauser, Jeong Hwa Ho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


In this article, the authors evaluate relationships between midlife work experiences and the realization of preferences for full-time employment, part-time employment, and complete retirement at age 63-64. Using rich data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, the authors demonstrate that the likelihood of achieving one's preferred employment status is related to earlier work experiences including employment stability in midlife and self-employment, part-time employment, and private pension coverage across the life course. Despite large gender differences in work experiences across the life course, relationships between earlier work experiences and the likelihood of realizing later-life employment preferences are similar for men and women. The authors also find that these relationships are only partially mediated by economic and employment circumstances in late midlife, suggesting the need for further evaluation of the cumulative pathways linking midlife work experiences to the realization of later-life employment preferences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)419-466
Number of pages48
JournalResearch on Aging
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2010


  • Employment
  • Life course
  • Longitudinal analysis
  • Retirement


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