Younger vs. older workers in ASEAN countries: substitutes or complements?

Febry Wijayanti


The phenomenon of population ageing has led the countries of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) to face challenges in the sphere of employment since older workers are considered likely to prevent younger workers from entering the labor market. This paper seeks to describe the effect that an increase in the number of older workers has on the number of young workers. The study relies on the data provided by the International Labour Organization for the period between 2010 and 2016 and the OLS and 2SLS regression analysis methods. The results show that older workers do not impede the career progress of younger workers, in other work, that these two groups of workers are complements rather than substitutes for each other. Nevertheless, the phenomenon of population ageing should be an important concern for the governments of ASEAN countries because of the effect of this trend on the labour market. The fact that almost a half of the elderly population in ASEAN is still actively working indicates that the elderly suffer from the consequences of the economic downturn and still do not feel financially secure enough to retire. Thus, the role of the government in the current conditions is to create a suitable job market to accommodate elderly workers.


population ageing, ASEAN, older workers, employment, labor market

Full Text:



Munnell, A. H., & Sass, S. A. (2007). The Labor Supply of Older Americans. Working Paper No. 6. Retrieved from

Johnson, R. W., & Mommaerts, C. (2011). Age Differences in Job Displacement, Job Search, and Reemployment. Working Paper No. 2011-3. doi: 10.2139/ssrn.1736644

Munnell, A. H., & Wu, A. Y. (2012). Are Aging Baby Boomers Squeezing Young Workers Out of Jobs? Issue in Brief No. 12–18. Retrieved from

Boeri, T., Garibaldi, P., & Moen, E. (2017). Inside severance pay. Journal of Public Economics, 145, 211–225. Retrieved from

Jin, J. (2017). Do Elderly Workers Crowd Out Younger Workers in the United States? New York: Union College.

Gruber, J., & Milligan, K. (2010). Do Elderly Workers Substitute for Younger Workers in the United States? In J. Gruber, & D. A. Wise (Eds), Social Security Programs and Retirement around the World: The Relationship to Youth Employment (pp. 345–360). University of Chicago Press.

Böheim, R. (2014). The Effect of Early Retirement Schemes on Youth Employment. IZA World of Labor, No. 70. doi: 10.15185/izawol.70

Schleife, K. (2006). Computer Use and the Employment Status of Older Workers – An Analysis Based on Individual Data. Labour, 20(2), 325–348. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9914.2006.00341.x

Freeman, R. (1998). Working-sharing to Full Employment: Serious Option or Populist Fallacy? In R. Freeman, & P. Gottschalk (Eds), Generating Jobs: How to Increase Demand for Less-Skilled Workers (pp. 195–222). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

Walker, T. (2000). The “Lump-of-Labor” Case Against Work-Sharing: Populist Fallacy or Marginalist Throwback? In L. Golden, & D. M. Figrat (Eds), Working Time: International Trends, Theory and Policy Perspectives (pp. 196–211). London & New York: Routledge.

Ananta, A. (2012). Financing Indonesia’s Ageing Population. In D. Singh, & P. Thambipillai (Eds.), Southeast Asian Affairs 2012 (pp. 135–150). Singapore: ISEAS – Yosuf Ishak Institute.

Rogers, B., Marshall, J., Garth, K., Mopkins, D., Remington, J., Siemering, K., & Spivey, J. (2011). Focus on the Aging Worker. AAOHN Journal, 59(10), 447–457. doi: 10.3928/08910162- 20110927-01

Nasir, Z. M., & Ali, S. M. (2001). Labour Market Participation of the Elderly [with Comments M. A. Chaudhry]. The Pakistan Development Review, 39(4), 1075–1084. Retrieved from

Walker, A. (2006). Active Ageing in Employment: Its Meaning and Potential. Asia-Pacific Review, 13(1), 78–93. doi: 10.1080/13439000600697621

Stenner, P., McFarquhar, T., & Bowling, A. (2011). Older People and “Active Ageing”: Subjective Aspects of Ageing Actively. Journal of Health Psychology, 16(3), 467–477. doi: 10.1177/1359105310384298

Mendoza-Ruvalcaba, N. M., & Arias-Merin, E. D. (2015). “I am active”: effects of a program to promote active aging. Clinical Interventions in Aging, 10, 829–837. doi: 10.2147/CIA.S79511

McCormack, K. (2009, November 12). How to Discover Your Encore Career. Bloomberg. Retrieved from

Lit, P. K. (2006). The Japanese Experience with Population Ageing and the Financing of Social Security, Health and other Social Services for the Elderly: Lessons for Other Nations. Asian Journal of Social Science, 34(4), 618–629. doi: 10.1163/156853106778917781

Lahey, J. N. (2006). Aging and the Labor Market: Dissertation Summary. Michigan: W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Rewards.

Lettmayr Ch. F., Director A., & Riihimäki T. (2010). The Right Skills for Silver Workers: An Empirical Analysis. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. doi: 10.2801/34094


Copyright (c) 2019 Febry Wijayanti

Сertificate of registration media Эл № ФС77-80764 от 28.04.2021
Online ISSN 2412-0731