Moritz Heß, Jürgen Bauknecht, Sebastian Pink
Working Hours Flexibility and Timing of Retirement: Findings from Europe

Journal of Aging & Social Policy, 2018: 30, issue 5, pp. 478-494
ISSN: 0895-9420 (print); 1545-0821 (online)

This study investigates how flexibility in working hours affects retirement timing. It tests the assumption that decreasing weekly working hours delays retirement and extends working life. Using data from four waves of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) and of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), we analyze whether a shift from full-time to part-time work delays retirement. Results show that older workers who reduce their working hours retire earlier than those who stay in full-time employment. The effect is stronger in Central and Eastern Europe than in Scandinavian countries. No interaction effects for gender and work strain are found. We conclude that part-time work at the end of the career, as a means to extend working life, should be reevaluated.