Research Group on Aging and the Life Course (FALL)

Research: ! Flexibilization


The flexibilization of the transition to retirement - possibilities and problems

Funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), 1993-1997



The current evolution of demography, social policy and the labor market makes the flexibilization of the transition to retirement an especially pressing issue. The problems of flexibilization are however still substantial. The objective of the study is to typify the forms of transition, especially as regards flexibilization, and to explain them with reference to labor market conditions, firms´ strategies, instruments of social security, and individual characteristics and preferences. We examine the retirement process on two levels. On the firm level, we analyze institutional solutions based on 20 case studies including enterprises in East and West Germany of different size and branches. In the current stage (which started in mid-1995) we especially focus on the effects of decentralized networks between institutional actors. The database consists of interviews with institutional decision makers. In addition, representative data sets such as the SOEP (Socio-economic Panel) and the "Beschäftigtenstatistik" (occupational statistics) are analyzed in order to assess more comprehensively the influence of firm and labor market variables. On the individual level, biographical decisions are reconstructed on the basis of case studies of older workers and pre-retirees. These case studies are again embedded in statistical analyses of the SOEP on the influence of individual variables (socio-demographic characteristics, employment trajectories) on the transition to retirement.


Prof. Dr. Martin Kohli (Director)
Christina Teipen (Researcher)
Eckhard Zierep (Researcher)
Jochen Ernst (Researcher 1993-1995)
Tanja Hoffmann (Researcher 1996-1997)
Gunther Knauthe (Research assistant)
Andreas Willisch (Research assistant)
Jürgen Warneck (Research assistant 1993-1995)

Main publications

Kohli, Martin (Hrsg.) (1995): Möglichkeiten und Probleme einer Flexibilisierung des Übergangs in den Ruhestand. Projektbericht an die DFG. Berlin: Institut für Soziologie.

Teipen, Christina & Andreas Willisch (1995): Dezentralisierung von Großunternehmen und regionale Verflechtung von arbeitspolitischen Akteuren: Die Auswirkungen institutioneller Reorganisation auf den Übergang in den Ruhestand. Berlin: Institut für Soziologie (FALL-Forschungsbericht Nr. 52).

For additional articles see our list of publications.

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