Joseph Quinn

Joseph F. Quinn, PhD

Boston College, Department of Economics

Joseph F. Quinn is Professor of Economics at Boston College. His research interests include labor economics, the economics of aging, and social security reform. Dr. Quinn’s recent research, mostly with Drs. Kevin Cahill and Michael Giandrea, has focused on two issues:

1) When and how do older Americans disengage from the labor market, with an emphasis on the importance of bridge jobs – paid employment between full-time career work and complete labor force withdrawal?  We and others have found that most older American men and women do not leave the labor force when they leave a full-time career job; rather the majority transition to one or more bridge jobs on the way out, positions of shorter duration than prior jobs and often part-time.

2) What are the financial prospects of older American workers contemplating retirement these days? We find reasons for concern for many older workers, stemming from the financial problems of the Social Security system, the transition from defined-benefit to defined-contribution employer pension plans, concerns about the future of Medicare and Medicaid, and the typically poor retirement savings histories of many Americans. We note that working several more years before retiring can make a significant difference in one’s post-retirement financial prospects. Additional years of work add earnings, increase Social Security and pension benefits, and result in fewer years that the accumulated resources must cover. For those in good health and with demand for their skills, a few more years of work should be considered.

Dr. Quinn received his PhD in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and BA in economics from Amherst College. Previously, he was Interim Provost and Dean of the Faculties at Boston College, served on the selection panel for the TIAA-CREF Paul A. Samuelson Award, was a member of the board of governors of the Foundation for International Studies on Social Security in Amsterdam, a member of the editorial board of the Review of Income and Wealth, and a member of the Massachusetts Governor’s Council.