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The Double Standard in Attitudes toward Retirement – The Case of the Netherlands


  • Hendrik P Van Dalen

    () (Erasmus University Rotterdam, Department of Economics, SEOR-ECRI and Tinbergen Institute and Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI), The Hague, The Netherlands. Website:,)

  • Kène Henkens

    () (Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI), The Hague, The Netherlands.)


In the coming decades, the importance of the older worker for the Dutch labour market will become apparent as the population ageing process progresses. Extending working careers may turn out to be a double dividend for welfare states like the Netherlands as it can prevent drastic cuts in benefits or large increases in pension contributions. The average Dutch worker, however, has a double standard when considering the prospect of working longer: while agreeing that working longer may well become necessary, workers do not think it will apply to them personally. Two structural impediments may explain this ambivalence and the low labour force participation of older workers: (1) stereotypes of older workers held by both employers and employees and (2) attitudes towards working longer are sensitive to the business cycle. Whereas solidarity with older workers seems to be a principle that holds true in good times, in times of recession other rules apply. The Geneva Papers (2005) 30, 693–710. doi:10.1057/palgrave.gpp.2510045

Suggested Citation

  • Hendrik P Van Dalen & Kène Henkens, 2005. "The Double Standard in Attitudes toward Retirement – The Case of the Netherlands," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan;The Geneva Association, vol. 30(4), pages 693-710, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:gpprii:v:30:y:2005:i:4:p:693-710

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    Cited by:

    1. N. Soens & A. De Vos & D. Buyens, 2006. "Explaining company-level influences on individual career choices: towards a transitional career pattern? Evidence from Belgium," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 06/397, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    2. van Dalen, H.P. & Henkens, C.J.I.M. & Schippers, J.J., 2009. "Dealing with older workers in Europe : A comparative survey of employers' attitudes and actions," Other publications TiSEM d12ad3e9-29ab-4a83-b61e-d, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    3. Frank Erp & Niels Vermeer & Daniel Vuuren, 2014. "Non-financial Determinants of Retirement: A Literature Review," De Economist, Springer, vol. 162(2), pages 167-191, June.
    4. Frank van Erp & Niels Vermeer & Daniël van Vuuren, 2013. "Non-financial determinants of retirement," CPB Discussion Paper 243, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.

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