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Summary INTRODUCTION Speculation about an aging population's impact on American society has given rise to the identification of a wide range of issues, some relating to the quality of life throughout a lengthen- ing life course, others relating directly to policymaking in both the public and private sectors. In framing the questions, some observers express anxiety that the growing proportions of older persons may place heavy burdens upon society. Others focus attention on the contributions that might be made to American life by the unprecedented numbers of older persons who will have withdrawn from the labor force but who are still healthy, vigor- ous, and rich in experience and skills. Both perspectives are based on major assumptions, some of them perhaps unwarranted, regarding the nature and extent of productive activities. :Little research is available to support the claims of either group of observers. Most of the research litera- ture on productivity flows from traditional economic analyses of market activity. Unpaid productive activities are usually excluded from such analyses. As a consequence, and with an eye to the sets of issues outlined later in this chapter, the Committee on an Aging Society of the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council convened a symposium on May 11-12, 1983, to explore what is known about unpaid productive roles and what 1

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2 COMMITTEE ON AN AGING SOCIETY implications there might be for the future. The major issues con- sidered in this summary chapter are definitions of productivity and the needs and contributions of older people in relation to unpaid productive roles. Definitions of Productivity Studies of unpaid productive roles are likely to require new concepts and new definitions of productivity. It is unclear to what extent models based on paid work roles will be useful in pursuing questions such as these: What unpaid activities are to be defined as productive? What are the relative numbers and characteris- tics of persons who are actually or potentially productive? How is unpaid productivity to be encouraged in different subgroups of the population? To what extent is age a meaningful index of actual or potential productivity? It is perhaps unwarranted to make comparisons, explicitly or implicitly, between the factors that influence paid work and those that affect unpaid work. For example, in considering how many persons are engaged in unpaid productive activities, there is presently no clear basis for categorization comparable to that used by economists in counting the numbers of people who are in or out of the paid labor force. This example is worth elaboration, for it suggests some of the conceptual pitfalls and unstated assumptions that may hinder our understanding of unpaid productivity if we attempt to gener- alize from paid productivity. Observers who are concerned about the burdens posed by an aging society often focus on the economic implications of the so-called ~epenctency ratio, which is conven- tionally expressed as the size of the retired population relative to the size of the working population. Projected increases in the dependency ratio, occurring as the proportion of older persons rises in the decades ahead, are figuring more and more in many discussions of public policy. The capacity of the American econ- omy to sustain the present responsibilities both of government and the private sector in providing supports to older persons is viewed as problematic. To use the conventional dependency ratio in framing such issues, however, has major shortcomings, even when limited to the area of paid work. Most of the flaws have already been identi- fied in the scholarly literature that deals with goods and services produced in the market.

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SUMMARY 3 One general problem lies in using the number or proportion of workers as the single major factor in assessing the productive capacity of the society. Productive capacity depends upon a broader set of factors, including the accumulation and utilization of capital and the rate of technological innovation. In certain sectors of the economy, such as agriculture, productivity has increased even as the number of workers has decreased precipi- tously. To take account of a fuller range of macroeconomic vari- ables, questions relating to productive capacity are better expressed in terms of productivity per worker than in terms of numbers of workers. A more specific problem in this area is that discussions of the dependency ratio are often focused exclusively on older persons as "the dependent population." This may well be an artifact of the recent preoccupation with the capacity of the Old Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) trust fund to pay benefits to current and future beneficiaries. Nonetheless, it is evident that the dependent population in the United States is far from fully described by the number or proportion of older retired persons. Children and unemployed adults of any age are also economi- cally dependent. When the full range of such dependents is expressed in the numerator of the dependency ratio, the eco- nomic implications of population aging appear in a different light. Recent studies have indicated that if birth rates remain low, a decline in "youth dependency" during the next decades may well moderate or even outweigh the economic significance of projected increases in "elderly dependency." Even when children are taken into account, the number and proportions of dependent nonworkers are frequently described by using age as the proxy for labor force status. It is common to consider all persons below age 18 and all persons above age 64 as dependent and to consider all persons aged 18 to 64 as workers. However, significant numbers of persons under 18 and over 64 are in the labor force. Not only do two-thirds of older workers begin drawing Social Security benefits before they reach 65, but fewer than three of every four men aged 55 to 64 are presently in the labor force. Consequently, critics have appropriately argued that dependency ratios should be stated on the basis of labor force participation rates rather than on the basis of age. Still another criticism is the frequent failure to differentiate among the needs of different types of dependents in considering the economic implication of population aging; that is, the relative

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4 COMMI1YEE ON AN AGING SOCIETY economic needs of children, older persons, and nonworking adults younger than 65. Although substantial consideration has been given to differences in the income needs of retired persons and working persons, little attention has been paid to differences in household composition and to other major sources of heteroge- neity within these population groups. How do the economic needs of a child differ from those of a single retired person? What are the marginal costs of supporting a second or third child within the same household? How does an older person's living arrange- ments affect that person's economic needs? These various flaws in analyses that have been based on the conventional dependency ratio are becoming the subject of a growing body of critical literature. They are mentioned here because they suggest analogous confusions that might arise in considering unpaid productive work. It would be premature, for instance, to conclude that the need for unpaid services will increase only, or even primarily, among older people; that the numbers alone are useful predictors; or, conversely, that older people will be the only major source of new unpaid productivity in the society at large. Yet for the present those few social observ- ers who are beginning to give attention to the significance of unpaid productive roles are focusing that attention upon older persons. Unpaid Productive Roles: Needs and Contributions of Older Persons Just as population aging is often perceived as posing macroeco- nomic burdens on society, larger numbers and larger proportions of older persons are frequently seen as generating an exponential increase in the need for health and social services. Although declines in mortality rates have been notable in this century, it is not clear if they have been accompanied by equivalent declines in morbidity. Optimistic predictions of the compression of morbidity in old age appear to be somewhat problematic, at least for the decades immediately ahead. A substantial body of research literature indicates that although persons in their 60s and 70s now tend to be much healthier in the aggregate than ever before, the age-specific prev- alence of long-term chronic diseases and disabling conditions

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SUMMARY 5 rises exponentially in persons who are in their late 70s and SOs. The number of Americans in their late 70s and SOs will increase substantially in the coming years. It is projected that as early as the year 2000 half the people in the 65-and-older age category in the United States will actually be 75 and older, about 15 percent will be 85 and older. An unintended consequence of added longev- ity has been an increased prevalence of long-term disabling con- ditions that may well require a far greater quantity and range of health and social services than has been needed in the past. For more than two decades, older retired persons have been envisioned as a new source of unpaid social and health services personnel. Sociologists and social psychologists writing in the early 1960s noted that work is a prime factor in determining one's social status and self-esteem in American society. Building upon this observation, they pointed out a need to create "new social roles" for retired older persons to enable them to recapture the status and the sense of self-worth that they may have lost with their departure from paid work. In the last two decades a number of small public and private sector programs have created formal mechanisms through which older persons have volun- teered as social and health services workers. ~day, in the contexts of rapid population aging and the contin- uing trend of retirement at earlier ages, renewed attention is being paid to the roles that older persons might undertake in formal and informal institutions and in patterns of social rela- tions. Of particular interest to many observers is whether the vast reservoir of active, healthy, experienced, and educated retired persons present in an aging society can be more e~ec- tively tapped, on an unpaid basis, to meet projected increases in demands for social and health services. Although this question is of considerable interest, little sys- tematic knowledge has been developed that could help in assess- ing this potential and the circumstances for its realization. What differential capabilities and desires exist within the older popu- lation to undertake unpaid productive activities? What types of activities? How will older persons be motivated? What are the formal and informal mechanisms through which such activities might take place? What are the conditions in which various kinds of formal organizations can effectively utilize unpaid activ- ities? If the unpaid productive activities of older persons increase substantially in volume and/or range, what impact will this have

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6 COMMITTEE ON AN AGING SOCIETY on the social institutions and patterns of social relations in American life? The Symposium on Productive Roles Both sets of issues outlined above (1) definitions of productiv- ity and (2) the needs and contributions of older people in relation to unpaid productive roles appeared to merit further inquiry; thus the Committee on an Aging Society planned a two-day sym- posium to explore these topics. Four invited papers were pre- pared: (1) "The Economics of Volunteerism: A Review" by Carol Jusenius Romero; (2) "The Older Volunteer Resource" by Jarold A. Kieffer; (3) "Unpaid Productive Activity Over the Life Course" by James N. Morgan; and (4) "Sociodemographic Aspects of Future Unpaid Productive Roles" by George C. Myers, Kenneth G. Manton, and Helena BacelIar. These papers, which follow this summary chapter, were not intended to provide complete coverage or syntheses of existing knowledge but instead to inform and stimulate the committee's discussion. With the papers as background, the committee explored the subjects with the authors and came to several con- clusions regarding needs for research that might usefully inform policy discussions and planning in both the public and private sectors. The balance of this chapter summarizes the symposium discussions and presents the committee's conclusions. UNPAID PRODUCTIVE ROLES Voluntary assistance to others, whether through formal orga- nizations or through informal arrangements, is an honored American tradition. Its forms are varied: volunteer work for churches, cooperatives, civic clubs, charities, immigrant soci- eties, hospitals, schools, museums, Foster Grandparents, the Peace Corps. Equally important are such unpaid activities as the home production of goods and services; time invested in raising children or in the care of ill relatives, friends, or neighbors; mutual support groups; and self-care. Compensated usually by friendship, conscience, and personal sense of worth, voluntary service is productive and important to the life of any community. The aging of the population, in combination with changes in the economy, in health and social services systems, and in educa

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SUMMARY 7 tional and other social institutions, will alter the needs that have traditionally been met by unpaid services. The numbers, skills, and needs of unpaid workers themselves will be different. The assumption, however, that the increasing numbers of older people in the society will automatically generate greater needs for voluntary services, together with a greater supply of volun- teers to meet those needs, is probably an oversimplification. The view that social needs are best or most effectively met by volun- tary services is not yet substantiated by evidence. In different words, the importance of voluntary activity is unquestioned, but it has been little studied and as a result is little understood. The forms, contributions, rewards, social and psychological dynamics, and efficiency of voluntary services vary widely. There is little understanding of the broad range of unpaid productive roles, whether performed by younger or older persons and whether inside or outside formal voluntary organizations. Neither is it clear if and how changes in the ways that unpaid productivity is valued will occur in an aging society. Some of the questions can be phrased in more specific terms: What are the various forms of unpaid productive roles? How do they affect the well-being of the persons who give and the persons who receive help? What is their impact on the economy as a whole and on the social life of the community as a whole? How do we value the time and effort spent in unpaid roles? What incen- tives and disincentives do potential volunteers face? Are special problems encountered by older volunteers? What kinds of com- munity problems are best met by voluntary services? The answers to such questions will be important in planning to meet the changing needs of an aging society. There is some research literature on voluntary organizations, voluntarism, and altruism, but little of it is future-oriented and very few studies relate to demographic change. In combination with other types of studies, the economic analy- sis of voluntarism is important, but it poses complex problems. There are no good measures of time spent in voluntary activities overall. Available data bases and time-use studies offer some clues, but these studies are inadequate and are unrelated to each other. The value of volunteered time and service is difficult to mea- sure. Value sometimes can be determined by figuring how much the work currently done by volunteers in formal organizations

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8 COMMITTEE ON AN AGING SOCIETY would cost if it were paid for; but other unpaid activities are so diffuse they defy accounting. There are process benefits and out- come benefits for both workers and clients that are important in social and psychological terms, but these also are difficult to translate into the usual economic indices. Another complicating factor is that in formal organizations volunteers have often been relegated to tasks comparable to low-paying jobs, a situation that is particularly common in organizations that rely heavily on women volunteers. As the labor market, the labor force, the volunteer market, and the volunteer force change, the rewards of voluntarism are increasingly hard to pinpoint. How do people value their paid and their unpaid productive activity? What are different people willing to forgo to sustain their volunteer work? What opportu- nity costs do they pay? Morgan (in this volume) notes that "as a society we are at some kind of peak in terms of the aggregate amount of productive time available in relation to the population." But although data are gathered regularly on paid work, surveys related to unpaid work are sparse. The available data show income first and then educa- tion as leading predictors of volunteer activity, but the data refer only to participation in formal organizations. Morgan comments further: It is not available time that seems to drive philanthropic activity but abilities and purposes. People with children get involved in activities . . . that are directed at the socialization of their offspring. Active visible people are urged to take leadership roles, and the more money they give, the more they are asked also to give time.... Tax laws would appear to encourage more time donations, in comparison to money dona- tions, among low-income people who do not itemize and cannot therefore get income tax rebates on their charitable contributions of money. But they may also be spending more time earning a living or looking for more paid work.... [Plaid work and unpaid work do not appear to be interchangeable and . . . the reduction in paid work hours with age, even after retirement, does not appear to lead to any substantial increase in volunteer work. Perhaps incentives are more important than free time. [Morgan, in this volume] Incentives to unpaid productive work can be positive (e.g., friendship, societal contribution, identification with the welfare of the sponsoring institution or the persons being served) or they can be negative (e.g., in instances where there is no other choice

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SUMMARY 9 but to perform an unpleasant duty). There has been relatively little systematic research on the motivations of voluntarism, despite the important implications both for government and for private organizations. Carol d. Romero (in this volume) empha- sizes that the reasons people participate in volunteer organiza- tions determine in part the extent to which voluntarism might substitute for reduced government provision of social services. If volunteers are motivated by societal need, "then the government could reduce expenditures in many areas with the expectation that volunteers would offset this reduction, at least to some extent." However, if volunteers are motivated by some personal benefit, however intangible, then reduction in government expenditures would elicit voluntarism only in those areas in which potential volunteers perceive potential benefits. In this case, she said, the government would need to be selective in its actions lest all social services be eroded. The extent to which altruism is a primary motivation remains unclear. Questions also remain about what kinds of needs volunteers can be expected to meet and how. Romero observes: Major changes are occurring within the American economy, changes that require increased volunteer activity.... Increasing demands are being placed on the voluntary sector to meet both immediate and long- term social needs. Furthermore, the aging of the population will lead to an increasing need for health care and other voluntary services for the elderly. The ways in which volunteers and volunteer organizations can, and will, respond to these changes are not really known. For example, there is an expectation-or perhaps more accurately, a hope-that older, retired people will become a major source of volunteers. It may well be, however, that many individuals will not be eager to volunteer. They may prefer instead to relax and enjoy themselves after a lifetime of work.... [Romero, in this volume] Current knowledge of unpaid productive roles is inadequate in several other respects. There is no taxonomy of productive roles, no systematic delineation of points to be considered if studies of these phenomena are to be related to other studies in response to the society's needs for information. Some of the elements of such a taxonomy are the diversity, extent, and contribution of unpaid productive activity; individual and group social and psychologi- cal dynamics and their effects; and how these changing factors relate to each other and to changing local and societal values, needs, and capacities.

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10 COMMITTEE ON AN AGING SOCIETY As Romero points out, the supply, demand, and mechanisms for allocation of voluntary services have yet to be modeled conceptu- ally and empirically. In short, emerging knowledge of the field does not yet provide a satisfactory basis for judging how volunta- rism figures in addressing individual and societal needs in a nation whose population is aging rapidly. CHARACTERISTICS OF OLDER AMERICANS Over the coming decades, older Americans on the average probably will be healthier, and it is evident that they will be better educated than their predecessors of the mid-twentieth cen- tury. Various demographic projections are based on different time intervals, however, and the projection strategies vary. Moreover, specific needs are difficult to deduce from the aggregated data. Nevertheless, current studies suggest important points in consid- ering the needs and productive roles of older men and women. Myers et al. (in this volume) consider pertinent sociodemo- graphic trends. Expectations are that the portion of the popula- tion aged 65 and older will grow at a modest rate through the end of this century; the rate will then accelerate between 2010 and 2025 as the baby-boom generation reaches age 65. By 2025 the aged portion of the population is projected to be nearly 20 percent of the total. Life expectancy is predicted to increase substantially. The proportion of older women will increase, especially the proportion of very old women. Currently, the proportions of wid- owed, separated, and divorced increase in successive age groups beyond age 55, with more than 30 percent of men and 75 percent of women in the over-75 age group living without spouses. This general pattern is expected to continue, but by 1995 there is also expected to be a slight rise in the proportion who will still be living in husband-wife households. Successive groups of persons who reach old age will differ, for birth cohorts born at successive periods in history move through the life cycle in different ways as conditions and expectations change. For instance, far more older Americans in future decades will have had at least a high school education, and many will have had college educations. Many will have had job retraining and various other forms of adult educations. Already, many more women reaching 65 have had substantial work experience out- side the home.

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SUMMARY 11 Labor Force Participation and Economic Status Labor force projections cited by Myers et al. (in this volume) suggest that the pool of women outside the labor force and under age 60 will decrease over the next 20 years. (This is a group on whom many volunteer organizations have depended.) Both women and men, black and white, who will be out of the labor force at older ages will be numerically and proportionately greater, even in the group aged 60 to 69. Labor force projections by the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that paid work among older persons is not likely to increase significantly, which, accord- ing to Myers et al., seems to "support . . . the idea that other unpaid activities can be an alternative condition for sizable num- bers in the growing older population." These projections are based on current labor force participation rates applied to census projections, however, and they do not yield a sufficiently clear picture. In particular, they do not take into account possible changes in the financial needs of older people. Social Security, veterans' benefits, and retirement ages are changing both up and down as many Americans retire as early as age 55 while others postpone retirement until their 70s. Rais- ing Social Security entitlement ages would have little immediate effect on the size of the potential pool of volunteers among older people, but ultimately it would cut into that pool, as Myers et al. report. How the financial status of the nation's older people will change is not known. Older Americans today are substantial consumers; and on the average the coming generations of older people are expected to be better off than those of today. Private pensions are a big factor in this regard, as is the recent income tax exemption of profits from a one-time sale of a family home for persons over 55 and other aged-based tax benefits. Still, many older Americans, especially members of minority groups and very old women, will not have been direct beneficiaries of these developments. The debt structure that Americans will carry into their retire- ment years has been given little systematic attention. The dra- matic rise in the price of housing in the last 20 years is an impor- tant factor. The cost of private and public transportation is increasing. Many families now are borrowing heavily for their children's educations. As pointed out in James N. Morgan's paper

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12 COMMITTEE ON AN AGING SOCIETY (in this volume), averages are not to be trusted because inequal- ity in income and wealth increases with age. "An average does not tell how many are below some threshhold," and "among younger people, those with Tow incomes or no assets are not likely to stay that way; the older people in those circumstances are likely to remain so." If the number of well-to-do older Ameri- cans is increasing and the proportion of indigent older Ameri- cans (especially among the younger old) is decreasing, the coming generations of elderly may nevertheless be far from rich and free- spending. Educational Levels Educational attainment, as Myers et al. (in this volume) note, is widely viewed as positively related to high formal participa- tion in voluntary and service organizations and important in explaining differences in self-help and activity levels. Yet fore- casting educational attainment is almost neglected in official population projections. Working with data regarding levels of formal schooling, these authors found that older persons at the turn of the century will have much higher levels of formal educa- tion. Sharply Tower proportions of older persons will have left school at the elementary or even high school level than is true of older persons today. Myers et al. expect educational attainment on the average to level off after the year 2000. "To the extent that formal educational attainment is positively related to more pro- ductive roles, then the next few decades should witness a great improvement in this regard. Of course, . . . we should balance this against the likelihood of higher labor force participation rates, especially for better educated women, for cohorts up to the time they reach the older ages." Household and Family The projections of household and marital status of older Ameri- cans yield similarly mixed implications. Myers et al. (in this volume) report that trends in household patterns, particularly women living alone, suggest that the demand for services may well increase, especially at the oldest ages. Yet there may be proportionately and numerically more persons in intact mar- riages who will therefore be in positions to supply services to spouses.

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SUMMARY 13 Kinship relations are an important and complicated but by no means clearly understood factor in both the need for services and the availability of people to meet those needs. Morgan (in this volume) observes that at present relatively little money is given to relatives outside the home. Less than 3 percent of a sample of persons were providing any financial support for parents who were around retirement age. Nor is much time given regularly to such unpaid activity as caring for grandchildren. Of particular importance, Myers et al. report, is the increased likelihood that persons reaching the older ages will themselves have parents still living. The effects of this situation can include strengthened family ties and a reduced need for social services, or they can include increased personal strain, especially for women care- givers, and an increased need for formal social services. In gen- eral, one effect is likely to be the reduction of the pool of potential volunteers for service outside the family. Myers et al. go on to say: It is likely, then, that there will be an enlarged pool of family members for whom mutual aid may be necessary. In turn, younger family mem- bers (at ages 65 to 69) are also available who could provide assistance if someone was in need. The term "potential" must be emphasized, inas- much as the family support system depends on many other factors as well. These figures suggest that mortality conditions play a somewhat greater role than fertility in the structure of family relations and touch upon a whole range of issues relating to living arrangements, migratory patterns, and mutual aid and assistance. [Myers et al., in this volume] Morgan (in this volume) points out that accessibility is a major factor in the availability of emergency aid within the family. The geographic mobility of Americans generally and new migrations of older Americans specifically raise questions not only about proximity of family members for care-giving but also about possi- ble geographical mismatch of supply and demand for services for older people. If income, as Morgan suggests, is a highly impor- tant predictor of volunteer service, and if a substantial portion of financially able older Americans move to a few cities of the Sun Belt or segregate themselves in relatively wealthy communities, the poorer elderly, who may need more voluntary services, will be left in communities where there are fewer potential volunteers and fewer potential local donors of money and goods. This is not to suggest that the Sun Belt does not have or will not have low- income elderly persons or that older people of higher income

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14 COMMITTEE ON AN AGING SOCIETY levels do not need the kinds of services furnished traditionally by volunteers. Wealthy or not, new communities, even for retirees, seem to give rise to new volunteer involvements. Health Health status is a crucial determinant of productive activity and of the need for services of the kind that have always depended on volunteers. Here, too, information is inadequate, and the available projections have mixed implications. Although people are living longer and on the average their health is better, Morgan (in this volume) observes that with advanced old age the dramatic increase in disabilities raises questions about the productive potential of an older population. And, as Myers et al. (in this volume) say, how relationships of age, disease, disability, and mortality are changing is a question of critical importance in determining both the demand for vari- ous types of volunteer services among the elderly and the poten- tial pool of elderly who are healthy and able to provide such services. Data from the National Health Interview Survey show that most Americans are relatively healthy into their mid-70s; but at the same time, rates of functional disability (some temporary, some long-term) rise by age 6S, with the rates rising sharply after the mid-70s. In a population in which longevity is increas- ing, this means both a larger number of relatively healthy older people and an increasing number of ill and disabled persons. These changes in longevity, disease, and disability within the older population suggest that with longer lifetimes there will be more chronic disease and functional disability, but not until later in life than is the pattern today. More of the nation's elderly (the younger old) will be more mobile than their predecessors; at the same time, there will be a large number of very old persons who are unable to get around easily. The population as a whole is likely to include more individuals with visual and hearing prob- lems. Projecting the nature and prevalence of the disease and disability that will occur with age depends on assumptions about advances in knowledge and medical care, and it calls for a projec- tive epidemiology that has barely begun. Again, to quote Myers et al.:

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SUMMARY 15 The use of projections that interrelate various population health states . . . does not resolve all of the issues in assessing health, health service utilization, and the implications of health for the supply of and demand for volunteer services. However, it does provide information on the basic parameters of such behavior for the system. The fact that relatively little effort has been applied to resolving the nature of such associations on a population level-let alone forecasting such relations into the future-indicates some serious gaps in the information base needed to plan for the requirements of an aging U.S. population. iMyers et al., in this volume] If present trends continue, the United States' new older popu- lation will contain two subpopulations: the younger old, most of them healthy, and the older old, many of whom will remain rela- tively healthy until very advanced old age but more of whom will be chronically ill or disabled. The implication is that needs for various services will increase. Many older Americans will be contributing to these services, but it is not clear that the needs of older Americans can be met for the most part from within the older population. The frail elderly person in need of social and health services often poses labor-intensive activities requiring physical and physiological strength. Even the well and still- vigorous elderly may find these needs larger than those they can cope with either physically or psychologically. The symposium participants knew of no existing national agenda for research to help policymakers anticipate the chang- ing needs and capacities of the country's elderly. But other groups are neglected as well. All of this says nothing about the changing needs and capacities of successive groups of younger persons. Nor is any mention made of the extent to which the time and effort of older people may be required to care for younger family members, for children being reared in one-parent fami- lies, or for special groups of children such as the developmentally disabled. Services that may be needed (and forthcoming) from older people are not likely to be limited to recipients who are old. OLDER AMERICANS AS A SOCIETAL RESOURCE The symposium participants recognized the importance of pro- ductive activity to the well-being of many older persons and of the society at large, but they adopted no advocacy position

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16 COMMITTEE ON AN AGING SOCIETY encouraging older Americans (any more than younger Ameri- cans) to engage in unpaid roles. Whether and in what circumstances more older people can and will donate time and effort to serving others are important ques- tions. Simple analysis of survey data suggests that voluntar- ism when defined as activity in or for a formal volunteer organization declines with age; but to what extent this is a cohort effect rather than an effect of aging is unclear. Multivari- ate analysis, furthermore, suggests that this type of voluntarism is not age related; that educational level and income level are the more significant variables. Morgan (in this volume) notes also that the amount of leisure time is not a major factor. It is over- simple, then, to presume that if only age constraints were removed, retirees would constitute a ready pool of manpower and womanpower. The circumstances attending retirement vary. For some people, incentives may be more important than free time. incentives and Disincentives Romero, Morgan, and Myers et al. (in this volume) all suggest that substantial proportions of today's retirement population have never shown any inclination to do volunteer work, and Romero finds specifically that volunteers in their retirement years are likely to be individuals who were volunteers earlier. This scarcely settles the matter. As mentioned earlier, studies of this subject deal principally with volunteering in formal organi- zations. Symposium participants pointed to the substantial assis- tance provided by family members and the proliferation of self- help and support groups and other less formal forms of unpaid productive activity. Many older people take very valuable unpaid roles (in family and neighborhood, for example) that have not been studied, and many may believe they are doing important work but in ways that are not being measured. Morgan looks from a broader perspective at incentives, disin- centives, and barriers affecting older persons' nonpaid produc- tive activity and reports the following: Multiple incentives are better than solitary ones, . . . all the barriers and most of the disincentives ishould] be removed. . . Ordinary paid work in the usual marketplace is the least promising activity to expect older people to expand. Care for themselves and others is probably the most likely....

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SUMMARY 17 Money incentives may well be less important, and affective rewards more important among older people. Both, however, are required.... There are serious difficulties with the notion of increasing the altruis- tic unpaid work of older people. If there is no reciprocity or return benefit, the burden is likely to be quite unequal because of the unequal capacities and preferences of older people. [Morgan, in this volume] The equity questions cannot be ignored, Morgan cautions: "For all our concern with incentives, it is crucial to remember that most differences in productive activity are the involuntary result of life histories, health, and an individual's particular environ- ment. Attempts to increase economic incentives can result in rewarding the fortunate and punishing the unfortunate." For example, "the usual tax-break methods of encouraging things are particularly likely to be inequitable among the elderly...." Barriers to Organizational Voluntarism darold A. Kieffer (in this volume) cites a variety of impedi- ments to organizational voluntarism on the part of older persons: bias against age, fear of displacement of paid workers, and com- peting opportunities for leisure time. The social and psychologi- cal dynamics are especially important. Although some of these factors operate also at younger ages, Kieffer contends: . . . like older people who work for pay or seek paying jobs, older persons, . . . serving as volunteers or looking for such assignments face many of the same kinds of age discrimination and discouragement policies and practices.... . . . older people themselves are divided on the subject of their volun- teerism.... Some are dubious about ... what they perceive to be the "second class" status they feel often attaches to volunteer work.... After lifetimes of work and contending, some people do not wish to get involved in activities that might entangle them with other people's problems. (This response is . . . opposite to that of people who like to focus on other people's problems in order to cope with their own-for instance, inactivity, isolation, or loss of purpose.) In other cases, older people . . . are skeptical about the value of what they would be doing or . . . they no longer feel they could tolerate bureaucratic practices. They fear demeaning assignments that other older volunteers have told them they can expect to receive. Or they do not wish to be placed under professional (and especially younger) supervisors, individuals they judge to be lacking in understanding about life and survival. Professional staff are being inserted between volunteer governing

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18 COMMITTEE ON AN AGING SOCIETY board members and volunteers who make up the rank and file workers of organizations.... [W]hen paid professional vacancies develop, the "inside" professionals tend to pick . . . other professionals . . . from among the inside volunteers who might aspire to a paid job.... [V]olun- teers become out of touch, ill-informed . . ., and dissatisfied . . ., people who may be around but who are definitely in the way. [Kieffer, in this volume] Nevertheless, large numbers of older people do volunteer for work in private and public agencies,* and Kieffer says many more might do so if ways were opened for their useful participa- tion. Surveys in 1981 in the United States indicated that in the group aged 55 to 64, 6.7 million persons engaged in volunteer work and 3.9 million more were interested in volunteering; in the 65-and-older age group, 5.9 million were involved in volun- teer activities and 2.55 million more were interested in doing so. "No ready basis exists for judging either the number of addi- tional older volunteers needed or the number who actually would respond to an expanded call for their help on a voluntary basis" (Kieffer, in this volume). And, as Kieffer, says, many who might volunteer might need training. Many have not been asked. Older persons have not always been addressed specifically or appropriately in the recruitment of volunteers. Volunteers "will want to be assured that their . . . work is valuable . . . and that they are not being exploited as someone's drudge" (Kieffer, in this volume). The discussion among participants left no doubt that volunteer service by older people would increase with improved incentives and the reduction of barriers. Some of these factors are easy to recognize but difficult to remedy; they require changes in organi- zational management and behavior as well as in budgeting. They also may require changes in law. Restrictions on use of volun- teers by government agencies need review, Kieffer says. The value and effective use of volunteers are not well understood. Specific attention to the needs and assignments of volunteers has been valuable, illustrating the importance of volunteer coordina- tors. But the range of incentives to volunteering has not been given much attention. Training itself can be an incentive; lack of *Volunteer activity in informal settings is not being considered here. Mobilizing this kind of activity will be much more difficult to accomplish as so little information exists about the incentives and disincentives that drive such activity.

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SUMMARY 19 insurance can be a disincentive. And the lack of reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses for transportation, food, and other inci- dental expenses deters many people of Tow income and some of middle income from volunteer service. These points suggest the need for an agenda of research on the changing relationships of organizations, agencies, and the volunteers on which they depend, and on the implications for financing volunteer services. New Community Settings Kieffer also sees a need for large-scale demonstrations of the capacities and performance of older workers, and Morgan argues similarly for an "assessment of the 'human capital' of skills and experience among the retired and those soon to be retired." Morgan argues also for new self-help and mutual-help institu- tions and communities. He urges "field trials" in stimulating the formation of communities in which all the barriers to productive activity among the elderly are dealt with simultaneously, and in which older persons could develop their own physical, economic, and social arrangements, to encourage all kinds of productive activities and to allow maximum choice. This is an argument not for segregation of the aged but for development of settings in which those without the usual support networks might better control their own circumstances. His example relates to care of the sick and disabled: . . . Currently, in about half the cases this care seems take place in extremely expensive hospitals and nursing homes where costs are often out of control. Or sometimes this work is performed by a spouse at considerable physical, emotional, and sometimes financial costs (since the insurance schemes do not cover most of it). Extended families only rarely can be expected to help because they tend to be scattered and have their own children to care for. Natural communities do not develop. Indeed, most older people see their network of social support withering as their friends die, and the isolation in single-family homes does not encourage the development of new social support networks. EMorgan, in this volume] The idea, Morgan says, is to open alternatives and opportuni- ties, creating communities that will help the elderly to meet some of their own needs and that will yield lessons for communi- ties elsewhere. This requires innovation in financing, too:

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20 COMMITTEE ON AN AGING SOCIETY . . . For some kinds of new living arrangements to facilitate efficient self- and mutual help among the aged, what appears to be needed are some small development funds to assist the first attempts and export the successful mechanism.... Another important method is the use of nonamortized loans; older people may not always need or want to be accumulating further equity in their last years. There is an important difference between a project that covers its own costs, including interest on loans, and one that is subsidized or one that mimics condominiums for the young intent on saving taxes while building equities. [Morgan, in this volume] Such efforts at creating new communities should not be one- time demonstrations. They should provide opportunities to exam- ine problems that arise, means of solution, how people partici- pate, what response mechanisms work, and how participants change over time. These would be different from the studies of residential settings for the aged, in which the usual focus has been on architecture and health care. Symposium participants also saw a need to study the ways in which older residents interact in different neighborhoods and communities. How efficient are in-town retirement buildings, retirement communities, age-mixed neighborhoods, or old-age homes as places in which to live, not merely places in which to reside? How do various residential circumstances reduce demand for outside assistance? How much do residents do for themselves? How do these communities and neighborhoods function from the perspective of economics? How do productive roles change? Such questions merit systematic study. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS The Committee on an Aging Society convened a symposium focused on unpaid productive roles because it regarded this sub- ject as having an important bearing upon two major sets of issues concerning the implications of population aging. One set of issues bears on the economic implications of the changing size of depen- dent subpopulations in relation to the per capita productivity of the working population. The other set of issues concerns the potential capacity of retired older persons to be productive in meeting social and health service needs in an aging society. Both sets of issues have been framed in earlier investigations in the context of traditional economic analyses of market activity. But

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SUMMARY 21 those analyses have not given major attention to unpaid produc- tion, the circumstances in which it is undertaken, and its impact. The symposium was not intended to be comprehensive. Rather, it served as an opportunity to explore what is known and what needs to be known about unpaid productive activities in confront- ing the implications of an aging society. On the basis of this exploration the committee was able to reach several conclusions. On the one hand, it is evident that there is a rich variety of unpaid productive activities being undertaken in contemporary American society by people of all ages. In addition to housework and volunteer activities that take place within formally orga- nized volunteer organizations, there appears to be a great num- ber of informal self-help and mutual support groups, as well as care-giving and social support for dependent family members, friends, and neighbors. On the other hand, systematic information about these activi- ties is sparse. Little is known about the types of incentives and capabilities that lead different people to undertake various unpaid productive roles, the volume of such activity that is tak- ing place, and the social and economic impact of these activities. In the absence of such information it is difficult to anticipate the extent, nature, and social effects of the unpaid productive roles that older persons might undertake in an aging society. In short, neither government agencies nor private organizations have ade- quate conceptualizations or adequate information on unpaid pro- ductive roles. Accordingly, the committee recommends that the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine and other organi- zations foster scientific research on two broad topics to provide an informed basis for action by policymakers. First, it is apparent that traditional economic analyses of market-oriented productivity need to be reformulated to incorpo- rate productive activities that take place outside the market. The potential economic significance of such activities and the impor- tance of interpreting and measuring them were generally noted by the National Research Council's 1979 Panel to Review Pro- ductivity Statistics. Such a reformulation, accompanied by mea- sures that allow for paid and unpaid activities to be discussed in comparable economic terms, is particularly needed. If the volume of nonmarket productivity is as economically significant as many observers suspect it is, then policy choices framed by the conven

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22 COMMITTEE ON AN AGING SOCIETY tional use of dependency ratios such as in the debates regarding the levels of OASI or Medicare benefits our society can afford- will be poorly informed. Second, it appears that the demographic, psychological, social, and ethical dimensions of unpaid productive activities warrant systematic investigation. Who are the persons who undertake such activities? What are the incentives that motivate them? What is the nature and extent of such activities in a variety of informal and formal settings? What is the contemporary impact of unpaid productivity on social institutions and patterns of social relations? Are such impacts likely to become magnified in the context of population aging? Are the activities that older persons may wish to contribute likely to match the needs of soci- ety? And what are some of the ethical questions? Should older people be encouraged to do work no one is willing to pay for? Or to undertake, without payment, some of the jobs that people who need the money are now getting paid to do? A far better base of knowledge about unpaid productive roles is necessary if we are to anticipate the implications of such issues for an aging society. BIBLIOGRAPHY National Committee on Careers for Older Americans. 1979. Older Americans: An Untapped Resource. Washington, D.C.: Academy for Educational Development. Presentation of argument for increased and more flexible employment and voluntary opportunities for older persons. National Institute on Aging. 1983. Special Report on Aging 1983. Publ. No. 83-2489. Bethesda, Md.: National Institutes of Health, August. Discussion of current demographic and health status research relating to productive roles of older persons. Panel to Review Productivity Statistics, Committee on National Statistics, Assembly of Behavioral and Social Sciences, National Research Council. 1979. Measurement and Interpretation of Productivity. Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Sciences. Detailed examination of the inadequacy of conventional measures of productivity both for wage-price decisions and for broader economic assessments. Schindler-Rainman, E., and R. Lippitt. 1975. The Volunteer Community: Creative Use of Human Resources. 2d ed. San Diego: University Associates. Discussion of and annotated bibliography on the organizational use of volunteers. U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census. 1983. America in Transition. An Aging Society: 1982. Current Population Reports, Special Studies, Series P-23, No. 128. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. Recent projections of the age of the U.S. population.