In 1986 the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) was amended to abolish mandatory retirement for tenured faculty members in colleges and universities effective January 1, 1994. Will this "uncapping" of the retirement age adversely affect the vitality of academic departments or the prospects of advancement for younger scholars? In a definitive study of faculty retirement in the arts and sciences, Albert Rees and Sharon Smith seek to answer this question. Basing their conclusions on original data collected from thirty-three colleges and universities, they do much to resolve an issue that is a frequent subject of discussion in the academic world and in the press. Rees and Smith reveal that the ending of mandatory retirement will have much smaller effects than those generally anticipated--so small that there is no justification for efforts to have Congress continue exempting faculty members from the ADEA past 1994, the date that the exemption is now due to expire. In addition to their data on retirement patterns, the authors make use of surveys of senior faculty and retired faculty to explore attitudes toward retirement.
Originally published in 1991.
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