In the 1986 volume of this JOURNAL we discussed the frequency of retirement and downward occupational mobility (on-the-job retirement) of older men in the United States at the end of the nineteenth century.1 As we noted, study of retirement in the years before World War II is hampered by the lack of data on the labor force status of individuals. Indeed, until the concept of “gainful employment” was replaced by that of the “labor force” in 1940, the official census figures on occupations contained a large proportion of older men and women who by today's standard would be regarded as retired2.
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