Response to Comments on Later Retirement and Japan-BECKER
I would like to respond briefly to a few comments on my posting on retirement in Japan. I never argued Japan has an ideal system in labor markets or elsewhere in the economy. In fact, I have been critical of many aspects of the Japanese economy. But they do seem to have made a better adjustment than Western nations to the trend toward increased life expectancy with better health at older ages.
Americans do not seem to value leisure more than the Japanese. In fact, American men and women now work longer hours per year at most ages prior to 65 than Japanese men and women do. I believe many more Americans would also want to work past age 65 mainly if the social security system and other retirement systems were more flexible, and perhaps also if the labor market handled older workers a little better.
No one would be required to work past age 65. But with a growing recognition that the present social security system is not likely to pay future retirees sufficient benefits, many more workers are likely to want to continue beyond 65.
Japanese fertility is low in rural as well as urban areas. Since the rural population is a very small fraction of the total, Japanese fertility is dominated by urban fertility.
Later retirement does not automatically solve the medical care problems for older persons. But it would be reasonable to combine later retirement with later ages of qualifying for medicare. That would help the medicare system a lot.