Katja Möhring
The consequences of non‐standard working and marital biographies for old age income in Europe: Contrasting the individual and the household perspective

Social Policy and Administration, 2021: 55, issue 3, pp. 456-484
ISSN: 0144-5596 (print), 1467-9515 (online)

The article addresses the question of how individuals with non‐standard work or family histories fare under different national pension systems in terms of their individual and household income in old age. It provides a comprehensive overview of the relationship of life course with later life individual and household income, and thereby goes beyond previous research that either focuses on one or the other. Life history data for 12 European countries of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) are used to examine old age individual and household income of individuals (a) with non‐standard working histories (e.g., non‐standard employment or unemployment), (b) with family instabilities (e.g., divorce or single parenthood). The results show that non‐employment and low‐status employment are old age income risks for both genders. Having children represents a burden for household income and for women's individual income only if associated with employment interruptions. Cross‐national variation is stronger for the relationship of old age income with the employment history than with the fertility history. Especially Beveridge‐plus countries that provide unconditional basic pension schemes mitigate previous life course inequality.