Peer effects on job satisfaction from exposure to elderly workers

Yuji Kawata*, Hideo Owan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Elderly Employment Stabilization Law, revised in 2006, helped the government increase elderly employment. While there has been much debate on whether the reemployment of elderly workers has substituted for or increased the employment of young workers, little attention has been paid to the potential peer effects of the former group on the latter's productivity and other outcomes in the workplace. There might be knowledge spillovers from elderly workers to peers (positive peer effects) or the presence of unmotivated elderly workers lowering the morale of their coworkers (negative peer effects). In this paper, we investigate such peer effects from exposure to elderly workers using the employee satisfaction survey of a Japanese firm. We show that, on average, elderly workers do not have significant peer effects on coworkers’ satisfaction. However, the effects are heterogeneous depending on the ability of elderly workers as measured by their wages, and the age and job levels of their peers. Namely, nonmanagerial workers, particularly those in their 50s, are more satisfied and coworkers in their 30s and 40s receive more training when they work with elderly workers. The positive effects are significant when the focal elderly workers come from other units rather than when they stay in the same units implying that the sharing of broad experience might mediate the effect. In contrast, the presence of elderly workers makes first-line managers feel that there is poor communication in the workplace.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101183
JournalJournal of The Japanese and International Economies
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Mar


  • Aging
  • Job satisfaction
  • Knowledge spillovers
  • Peer effect
  • Training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Political Science and International Relations


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