Similarities and Differences in the Operationalization of “Productive Aging” Across Experts and Contexts: A Conjoint Experiment Approach

Ginevra Floridi , London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
Benjamin Lauderdale, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

Multidimensional concepts such as “productive ageing” are popular in ageing research, but measuring them is difficult. Ideally, a composite measure of productive ageing should aggregate indicators of various productive activities into a single scale while reflecting their relative importance towards the concept. However, the value assigned to each activity may differ across researchers and contexts. We propose a method for the generation of composite scales based on a conjoint experiment on experts, and apply it to the measurement of productive ageing in Italy and South Korea. The method generates highly reliable scales, and performs well compared to data-driven approaches for weighting and aggregation. We assess systematic differences in the operationalisation of productive ageing between a group of Italian and a group of Korean academics by constructing separate scales for each expert and by country of origin. The results suggest that socio-cultural factors influence academics’ definitions and operationalisations of later-life productivity.

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 Presented in Session 6. Health & Mortality & Aging