Factors affecting the Participation of the Elderly in the Labor Force: A Case Study of Selected Areas in the Philippines, 1984

by Rommel Jacinto D. Silverio, Master of Arts in Demography (1987)

This study aims to determine some factors other than mandatory requirement which significantly influence the labor force participation of the aged individual. It uses the Elderly Survey Data collected in 1984 by the Demographic Research and Development Foundation, Ind. From persons who are at least 60 years old and are residing in the six survey sites, i.e. Tondo; Sto. Niño; Quezon City; other Quezon City areas; and selected barangays in Batangas, Bohol and Ilocos Norte.

The author utilizes parametric (regression and correlation analysis, t- and F-tests) as well as non-parametric tools (Chi-square and Median tests, Mann Whitney U test, Kruskal Wallis one-way analysis of variance by ranks, Spearman and Kendall rank correlations) to identify these factors and to know how each independent variable influences the suggested retirement age and the probability for elderly participation in their labor force, the operational terms employed for the economic-activity of the aged individual.

Findings indicate that the suggested retirement age significantly rises with increasing dependency levels in households where the elderly respondent is the head with elder male especially those in the higher ages. On the other extreme, the desired age for labor with rising levels of formal schooling among those based in the urban areas and with high levels of dependency among aged males. Results also evince that the probability for the actual participation of the elderly in the labor force significantly increases among household heads and among elderly males. The same likelihood decreases significantly among those based in the urban areas, among those who have ever worked in agriculture, among the elderly who perceive themselves to be in either fair of poor heath, among elderly who receive “other income” for economic support as well as with rising age and dependency levels. There is no sufficient evidence to significantly link the probability for actual elderly participation with the educational level, the marital or the lifetime migrant status of the aged individual. It may also be added that the suggested retirement age is not significantly associated with the marital or the lifetime migrant status of the elderly although the effect of education is significant in conjunction with the urban areas of residence of the aged individual.

Residual analyses were performed to formally ascertain the aptness of the final multiple linear regression model as well as the multiple linear probability model which were used to derive most of the conclusions in the study. These test checked for the validity of three assumptions on the residuals of the models: (1) the absence of serial correlation, (2) the constancy of error variance (or homoscedasticity), and (3) the normality of distribution of the residual terms. Although there were “minor” violations in the latter two assumptions, the study concludes that the models were fairly robust and, thus, the generalizations obtained from these models are also reliable.

In terms of applicability of the results, the author raises five major issues with respect to the participation of the elderly in the labor force. These are: (1) the identification of the elderly segment who would more likely delay their withdrawal from active economic participation, (2) the hastening effect of child care among the elderly in aged labor withdrawal, (3) the adverse influence of failing health on elderly participation, (4) the increasingly important role of old-age support systems in the labor withdrawal decision of the elderly, and (5) the absorption of the elderly in the labor force. Recommendations were forwarded in the light of these issues. These included the creation of suitable forms of employment for the elderly based on the characteristic on the aged segment which highly desires to withdraw at significantly later ages, the generation of employment opportunities which are highly compatible with child care and other domestic responsibilities of the elderly who are tied to the house, the institution of geriatric services and health education for the elderly, the establishment of a social security scheme that is founded on the basis of the elderly’s ability and need, and the formation of employment opportunities to bridge the gap between the desire of the elderly to withdraw from the labor force at the higher ages, on one hand and the actual participation of aged labor, on the other extreme.