Pushed, Pulled, or Blocked? The Elderly and the Labor Market in Post-Soviet Russia Articles uri icon

publication date

  • May 2014

start page

  • 152

end page

  • 169


  • 45

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0049-089X

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1096-0317


  • Russia provides an interesting context for studying the labor market experiences of the elderly because of its experience with market transition, its looming growth in the elderly dependency ratio, and its unusual pension policies that do not penalize pensioners for working. We use data from twenty surveys of the Russian population conducted from February 1991 to November 2007 to analyze the labor market participation and earnings of elderly Russians following market transition. Economic desperation, exacerbated by low pension levels, pushed some elderly to seek employment for income on the labor market. Elderly Russians with more education had more opportunities to work, and education differentials increased as market reforms progressed. The correlates of earnings operate similarly for retirement- and pre-retirement age Russians, with several exceptions: unobserved factors favoring employment are negatively associated with earnings for the elderly, occupation mediates most of the effects of education, and patterns of change over time differ somewhat. Elderly Russians are not disproportionately blocked from employment following market reforms. Following the initial transition shock, their labor market activity increased. Overall, both push and pull factors shape the employment and earnings of the elderly, affecting different segments of them.


  • labor market; employment; elderly; pensioners; earnings; market transition; russia