Research Group on Aging and the Life Course (FALL)
Research: Early exit
Time for retirement: Comparative studies of early exit from the labor force
Funded by the Science Center Berlin (Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin)
In all developed countries, people have been leaving work at increasingly
younger ages - at a time when their life expectancy keeps increasing as
well. How has this paradoxical process been brought about? What is the
relative impact of labor markets and social policy? And what are the effects
of this massive lengthening of retirement?
We analyze these questions based on a comparative assessment of aggregate
labor force participation data, and on institutionally grounded case studies
of seven countries (Netherlands, France, Germany, U.K., U.S., Sweden, and
Hungary). We show how the problems of the labor market have pushed the main
actors (the enterprises, the unions and the state) to create institutional
pathways of early exit from the labor force by recombining or changing the
existing social policy framework. While there remain differences in the
extent of early exit, the trend has everywhere moved in the same direction.
Thus, in spite of the large variation in welfare institutions, the common
labor market problems have lead all countries to adopt functionally similar
Herman van Gunsteren
Kohli, Martin, Martin Rein, Anne-Marie Guillemard & Herman van Gunsteren (Eds.) (1991): Time for retirement:
Comparative studies of early exit from the labor force. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Jacobs, Klaus & Martin Kohli (1990): Der Trend zum frühen Ruhestand: Die Entwicklung der Erwerbsbeteiligung der Älteren im
internationalen Vergleich. In: WSI-Mitteilungen, 43, 498-509.
Kohli, Martin (1992): Labor market perspectives and activity patterns of the elderly in an ageing society. In: van den Heuvel, W. et al.
(Eds.): Opportunities and challenges in an ageing society. Amsterdam: North-Holland, 90-105.
Kohli, Martin (1994): Work and retirement: A comparative perspective. In: M.W. Riley, R.L. Kahn & A. Foner (Eds.):
Age and structural lag: Changes in work, family, retirement, and other structures. New York: Wiley, 80-106.
For additional articles see our list of publications.
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