Determinants of Retirement Decisions in Europe and the United States: A Cross-National Comparison of Institutional, Firm-level and Individual Factors
Up until the late-1990s, European labour markets have been characterised by early employment exits of senior workers well before official retirement ages; a trend increasingly considered unsustainable in times of demographic ageing. However, despite recent policy reforms to prolong working life – often summarised under the concept of 'active ageing' – older workers’ employment has increased only moderately and their labour market integration remains deficient. One obstacle for raising old-age employment has been a limited understanding of older workers’ employment vs. retirement decisions and of the different 'drivers' that influence them. Against this background, the project will analyse older workers’ retirement decisions and their complex set of determinants in nine European countries and the U.S. In a first phase, nation-specific case-studies will reconstruct relevant 'framework conditions' of older workers retirement decisions, considering macro- (e.g. nation-state policies), and meso-level factors (e.g. workplace practices). Given these framework conditions, a second phase will focus on the empirical investigation of retirement decisions. For this phase, most recent SHARE/ SHARELIFE data will be used to contrast possible changes in the timing and voluntariness of retirement decisions as well as its determinants before and after the political shift from 'early exit' to 'active ageing'.