National contexts are crucial determinants of older worker labor force participation. This paper clarifies the main differences between the national contexts surrounding older workers in Japan and the United States. These two countries commonly represent large-scale, industrialized, and mature economies with increasing demographic pressures to prolong the working lives of older adults. Despite the similarities, differences are found between these two national contexts in at least four major areas: (1) the level of demographic pressure to increase older worker labor supply; (2) national labor market institutions affecting employment security in later life; (3) the role of government in promoting older persons' labor force participation; and (4) the labor force compositions (specifically, the fraction of older workers who are self-employed). Labor force participation rates among older workers are substantially higher for Japan than for the United States. Differences in each of the four areas discussed in this paper help to explain why workers in Japan remain in the labor force longer than do those in the United States.
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