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Working longer in European countries: underestimated and unexpected effects

Listed author(s):
  • Dominique Anxo

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.

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Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal International Journal of Manpower.

Volume (Year): 33 (2012)
Issue (Month): 6 (September)
Pages: 612-628

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Handle: RePEc:eme:ijmpps:v:33:y:2012:i:6:p:612-628
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