Dirk Hofäcker
Who wants to work longer – and why? Comparing Support and Readiness for Work beyond Retirement Age in European Countries

ESA 11th Conference “Crisis, Critique and Change”, University of Turin, August 28th to August 31st, 2013

Against the background of foreseeable ageing of the population as a whole and national labour forces in particular, many governments in Europe have started to introduce a bundle of different policies to stimulate longer working lives, often summarised under the term ‘active ageing’. Among these measures, reforms of pension systems and measures aiming to increase incentives of work up to or even beyond retirement age have played a major role. This paper seeks to explore in how far such reforms have actually been able to generate sufficient public approval, and how this support varies both inter- as well as intranationally. Considering both the ‘abstract’ approval for the opportunity to work beyond retirement age as well as the ‘concrete’ individual readiness to do so, the paper distinguishes three ‘grades’ of support for such measures: (i) those supporting continued work both at the abstract and the concrete level, (ii) those generally in favour of work beyond retirement but not considering this an individual option and (iii) those uniformly rejecting it. In a first step, the paper will descriptively explore cross-national differences in the distribution of these three types across European countries and their possible institutional determinants. Using regression analysis, the paper subsequently will explore which individual-level factors determine the assignment to any of these three support groups and whether the influence of such micro-level determinants differs across countries. Empirically, the paper will draw back to most recent data from the Special Eurobarometer on ‘Active Ageing’ (Special EB 378), fielded in late-2011.