9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN01 Ageing in Europe

2009-09-04 09:00:00 2009-09-04 10:30:00 Friday, 4 September 09:00 - 10:30 Early Retirement Building II, C5.07

Early retirement indicators on the institutional level: clustering countries based on policy measures

In almost all European countries and the USA, the employment rate of older workers (aged 50 and older) has declined over the last fifty years (Morris & Mallier, 2003). This poses threats to the sustainability of social security programs in many countries. As a consequence, several governments have worked out policy measures to increase the activity of older workers and to end early exit. Possible solutions that have been studied in the literature are: a rise of the normal pension age, closing special early retirement programs, a reduction of the generosity of disability benefits and a reversal of gradual and part-time retirement (Ebbinghaus, 2000). Some countries that will be studied in this paper, contribute to an early exit culture based on financial benefits (Schmäll, 2003) while others have an active ageing culture which supports older workers to continue working (Gold & Saurama, 2004).
This paper will examine how different types of countries cluster based on policy measures. The added value of the analysis is to extend previous research by studying policy indicators over different countries and over time. We will analyse a large set of policy indicators from different resources (e.g. EUROSTAT, OECD,?) with data from nineteen countries using cluster analysis. The countries that will be studied consist of the EU-15 plus Switzerland, Hungary, Poland and the United States. Most of the data are available year on year from 1996 until 2007.
Based on previous research, we expect that institutional indicators such as the legal retirement age and life-long learning strategies in a country will play a major role in the early retirement decision. Differences between countries will be looked at in the diverse analyses.