This article examines the process of status determination— the translation of background status characteristics into economic outcomes— as it changes over the later stages of the life cycle. Because of the increased dependence of cohorts on public transfers during old age, the extent to which old age reduces, heightens, or maintains the importance of market-based sources of stratification reflects the redistributive impact of retirement income relative to market income. Using data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Older Men, we compare the impact of status characteristics important during work careers— race, residence, education, occupation— on economic outcomes before and after the normal age of eligibility for retirement benefits. For family income and assets, adjusted for family size and inflation, the results show only modest change in the effects of background variables over time, across ages, or with hours worked, and suggest more continuity than change in the determinants of income.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science