Late retirement, early careers, and the aging of U.S. science and engineering professors
Studies of rescuing early-career scientists often take narrow approaches and focus on PhD students or postdoc populations. In a multi-method systems approach, we examine the inter-relations between the two ends of the pipeline and ask: what are the effects of late retirement on aging and hiring in academia? With a simulation model, we postulate that the decline in the retirement rate in academia contributes to the aging pattern through two mechanisms: (a) direct effect: longer stay of established professors, and (b) indirect effect: a hiring decline in tenure-track positions. Late retirement explains more than half of the growth in average age and brings about 20% decline in hiring. We provide empirical evidence based on the natural experimental set-up of the removal of mandatory retirement in the 1990s.