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The end of work or work without end? The role of voters' beliefs in shaping policies of early exit

  • Kemmerling, Achim

The rise and fall of policies regulating early exit from labour markets remains enigmatic for comparative politics. Most explanations focus on structural or institutional causes. A missing source of national variation, this discussion paper argues, lies in cross-country differences in voters’ attitude. Whereas in some European countries voters would not think that there is a trade-off between the employment of older and younger workers, in others this is a dominant paradigm. I describe these differences in opinion, as well as their potential and limits for explaining reform in this policy area. A multi-level analysis of Eurobarometer data shows that low employment rates and high levels of labour market regulation lead more people to believe in such a trade-off. This belief is rather the result of voters’ perceptions of how labour markets work than the result of their personal situation.

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Paper provided by Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in its series Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Labor Market Policy and Employment with number SP I 2007-108.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzblpe:spi2007108
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  1. Romain Duval, 2003. "The Retirement Effects of Old-Age Pension and Early Retirement Schemes in OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 370, OECD Publishing.
  2. Conde-Ruiz, José Ignacio & Galasso, Vincenzo, 2000. "Early Retirement," CEPR Discussion Papers 2589, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Conde-Ruiz, J. Ignacio & Galasso, Vincenzo, 2004. "The macroeconomics of early retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1849-1869, August.
  4. Carlin, Wendy & Soskice, David, 2005. "Macroeconomics: Imperfections, Institutions, and Policies," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198776222, March.
  5. Wilthagen, Ton, 1998. "Flexicurity: A new paradigm for labour market policy reform?," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Labor Market Policy and Employment FS I 98-202, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  6. Sveinbjörn Blöndal & Stefano Scarpetta, 1999. "The Retirement Decision in OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 202, OECD Publishing.
  7. Saint-Paul, Gilles, 2000. "The Political Economy of Labour Market Institutions," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198293323, March.
  8. Ebbinghaus, Bernhard, 2008. "Reforming Early Retirement in Europe, Japan and the USA," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199553396, March.
  9. Lazear, Edward P, 1979. "Why Is There Mandatory Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1261-84, December.
  10. Sinn, Hans-Werner & Uebelmesser, Silke, 2003. "Pensions and the path to gerontocracy in Germany," Munich Reprints in Economics 19563, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  11. Nicola Brandt & Jean-Marc Burniaux & Romain Duval, 2005. "Assessing the OECD Jobs Strategy: Past Developments and Reforms," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 429, OECD Publishing.
  12. Thomas König, 2001. "Bicameralism and Party Politics in Germany: an Empirical Social Choice Analysis," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, vol. 49(3), pages 411-437, 08.
  13. Ebbinghaus, Bernhard & Hassel, Anke, 1999. "Striking deals: Concertation in the reform of continental European welfare states," MPIfG Discussion Paper 99/3, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
  14. Herbertsson, Tryggvi Thor & Orszag, Mike, 2003. "The Early Retirement Burden: Assessing the Costs of the Continued Prevalence of Early Retirement in OECD Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 816, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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