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Working longer in European countries: underestimated and unexpected effects


  • Dominique Anxo
  • Thomas Ericson
  • Annie Jolivet


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to analyse the main evolutions and the current situation of the 50-74 year olds on the labour market in eight European countries (Denmark France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Sweden, Poland and the UK). Design/methodology/approach - Based on a cross-country comparative approach, this overview draws on detailed analysis of the situation of older workers and public policies in each of the selected countries but also on a wide range of available studies and statistics on employment and welfare outcomes. Findings - The eight selected countries display similarities: a u-shaped pattern of employment rates of older workers (55-64 years old) over the last 40 years, with an increase since the mid 1990s, the later exit of higher educated workers and the higher prevalence of non-standard employment contracts among older workers. On the other hand, considerable disparities can be observed regarding the gender gap in employment rate, current employment rates, self-employment and part-time employment among older workers. Social implications - Specific questions will be more acute with the effective postponement of retirement: increasing inequalities between groups of older workers, increasing uncertainty about the age of retirement, the way to keep lower educated workers in their jobs, sustainable working conditions, increasing risks of age discrimination, and impact of care of older relatives. Originality/value - This paper offers a synthetic overview with a special attention paid to the main features of the countries’ exit patterns at the end of the working life, the prevailing public policies and the specificity of the different national employment and societal models.

Suggested Citation

  • Dominique Anxo & Thomas Ericson & Annie Jolivet, 2012. "Working longer in European countries: underestimated and unexpected effects," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 33(6), pages 612-628, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:ijmpps:v:33:y:2012:i:6:p:612-628

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    Cited by:

    1. Larsen, Mona & Pedersen, Peder J., 2015. "Labor Force Activity after 60: Recent Trends in the Scandinavian Countries with Germany as a Benchmark," IZA Discussion Papers 9393, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Stefanie König, 2017. "Career histories as determinants of gendered retirement timing in the Danish and Swedish pension systems," European Journal of Ageing, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 397-406, December.
    3. V. Blyznyuk & Y. Yuryk, 2018. "Asymmetricity in the development of the industrial segment of Ukrainian labor market," Economy and Forecasting, Valeriy Heyets, issue 4, pages 65-80.
    4. Mona Larsen & Peder J. Pedersen, 2017. "Labour force activity after 65: what explain recent trends in Denmark, Germany and Sweden? [Arbeitsmarktbeteiligung von über 65-Jährigen: Ursachen für die jüngsten Entwicklungstrends in Dänemark, D," Journal for Labour Market Research, Springer;Institute for Employment Research/ Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), vol. 50(1), pages 15-27, August.
    5. Mona Larsen & Peder Pedersen, 2013. "To work, to retire – or both? Labor market activity after 60," IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 2(1), pages 1-20, December.
    6. Maciej Lis & Agnieszka Kamińska & Aart-Jan Riekhoff & Izabela Styczynska, 2013. "The Impact of Institutional and Socio-Ecological Drivers on Activity at Older Ages," CASE Network Reports 0115, CASE-Center for Social and Economic Research.


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