Public Attitudes of European Citizens towards Late-Career Employment: Patterns, Trends and Determinants during the Institutional Shift from ‘Early Exit’ to ‘Active Ageing’

Research question/goal: 

Against the background of foreseeable demographic ageing, many European policy makers have since the mid-1990s taken a ‘paradigmatic turn’ from fostering early retirement to promoting longer working life. As part of this turn towards ‘active ageing’, a number of different labour market, pension policy and education system reforms have been implemented to reduce incentives for early exit from employment and to facilitate work continuation. Until now, however, it remains unclear whether these measures to reverse the early retirement trend have been accompanied by respective changes in the previously dominant ‘early retirement culture’, reflected in the perceptions and attitudes of European citizens. Against this background, the aim of the research project is to reconstruct both individual employment and retirement preferences of future retirees as well as their opinion towards the associated reforms in labour market, pension and education policies. To this end, the project will develop a systematic typology of major developments in the above policy fields in European countries, based on comparative macro-data. Using most recent evidence from comparative survey data (SHARE, European Social Survey, Eurobarometer), the project will contrast these institutional developments with respective trends in public attitudes. In addition to mapping attitudinal trends in different institutional contexts, the project furthermore will investigate whether under certain institutional conditions, there emerge specific groups within European nations (e.g. based on gender, qualification, education, workplace characteristics or region), for which significant discrepancies exist between individual attitudes and preferences and the politically envisioned targets for ‘active ageing’.

Fact sheet

Data Sources: 
Survey Data (SHARE, European Social Survey, Eurobarometer), large-scale institutional data (OECD, Eurostat, MISSOC)
Geographic Space: 
Europe (EU-27)