Slowed or Sidelined? The Effect of ‘Normal’ Cognitive Decline on Job Performance among the Elderly

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This paper examines the relationship between age-related cognitive decline and three potential workplace outcomes: 1) increased job difficulty, 2) shifts to a less cognitively-demanding jobs, and 3) early retirement. It uses data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) and the O*Net database. Critical components of the analysis are the metric used to measure cognitive decline, inclusion of cognitive reserve as an independent variable, and the use of overlapping 10 year observation windows. A key limitation is that it cannot conclusively discern a causal relationship between cognitive decline and workforce-exit.