Publication type: Conference other
Type of review: Not specified
Title: Let’s not forget the macro-level factors! : how older workers’ interlocked employment and health trajectories are shaped by welfare regimes and the social norm for working longer
Authors : Froidevaux, Ariane
Baumann, Isabel
Madero-Cabib, Ignacio
et. al : No
Conference details: 1st Careers Division of the Academy of Management Community Conference, Vienna, Austria, 14-15 February 2020
Issue Date: 2020
Language : English
Subject (DDC) : 331: Labor economics
Abstract: After an era of promoting early retirement as an instrument to address unemployment between the 1970s and the 1990s, the last two decades have seen an increasing labor force participation of older workers beyond statutory retirement age (SRA) in many developed economies (OECD, 2017). This trend is in line with the evolution of researchers’ understanding of late careers from a transition from full-time employment to full retirement (i.e. an event), to a more flexible late career phase (i.e., a process), where retirement consists in diverse activities and is no longer synonym with the end of the career. Retirement trajectories thus constitute chronological sequences of employment statuses (Calvo, Madero-Cabib, & Staudinger, 2018). Since health has been identified as one of the macro resources with the strongest impact on retirement decisions (Birkett, Carmichael, & Duberley, 2017), health statuses should be considered when studying retirement processes. However, the causal influence between employment and health is hard to pin down and likely goes into both directions (Apouey, Guven, & Senik, 2019; Eyjolfsdottir, Baumann, Agahi, Fritzell, & Lennartsson, 2019). In this paper, we therefore investigate the interlocked employment-health trajectories. A Life Course Perspective on Late Careers The life course perspective, which considers retirement “as a transition in the course of the lifespan” (Wang & Shi, 2014, p. 212), is particularly useful when studying older workers’ retirement sequences because it focuses on, first, trajectories’ change over time described in terms of positive or negative pathways, and second, on individuals' limited agency given the influence of the social context (Wang & Shi, 2014). Potential drivers of the co-development of employment and health in later life is the formal institutional context (i.e., the retirement-related public policies) and the social norm of working beyond statutory retirement age (SRA) (Froidevaux, Hirschi, & Wang, 2018; Wang, Henkens, & van Solinge, 2011). However, as pointed by these authors, the influence of these institutional factors on retirement outcomes remains largely unknown. Our first aim is to identify the typical trajectories to map the distribution of potential ways through which employment and health can interact in later life. While past studies have explored the influence of health on retirement trajectories (Baumann & Madero-Cabib, in press) or the influence of retirement trajectories on health (Madero-Cabib, Corna, & Baumann, 2019), to the best of our knowledge this study represents the first attempt to model individuals’ interlocked employment-health trajectories. Notably, because we consider the effects of age, we show evidence that the effect of retirement is distinct from the effect of aging (van der Heide, van Rijn, Robroek, Burdorf, & Proper, 2013). Our second aim is to identify how two different institutional factors may be associated with the employment-health trajectories: the welfare regime on the formal side, and the social norm of working beyond the SRA on the informal side (Esping-Andersen, 1990; Jansen, 2018). By doing so, this study addresses previous calls for additional retirement research focusing not on the micro- but on the macro-level (Shultz & Wang, 2011). Methods We followed 3,701 older workers (mean age of 65 years old) from 12 countries for 11 years (2004 to 2015). Based on the typology by Esping-Andersen (1990), countries representing five welfare regimes were selected: the United States and Chile (liberal countries); Austria, Germany, Belgium, France (corporatist countries); the United Kingdom and Switzerland (liberal-corporatist countries); Denmark and Sweden (social-democratic countries); and finally Spain and Italy (Southern European). A harmonized pooled-country dataset was built from four representative panel surveys: The Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), the English Longitudinal Study of Aging (ELSA), the U.S. Health and Retirement Survey (HRS), and the Chilean Encuesta de Protección Social (EPS) [Social Protection Survey]. In a first step, to estimate the interlocked employment-health trajectories, we used Multichannel Sequence Analysis (Gauthier, Widmer, Bucher, & Notredame, 2010). We specifically used the Ward cluster analysis, and the Average Silhouette Widths (ASW) index to estimate the most informative and robust number of clusters. In a second step, we examined the relationships between our independent variables of interest (welfare regime and social norm) and the dependent variable (clusters of employment-health trajectories) by running multinomial logistic regressions analyses. Results Employment-health trajectories. First, findings revealed that on-time and early retirement is more frequent that late retirement–regardless of health. Among early and on-time retirees, however, there were more older adults in poor health than in good health. This highlights the importance of health for retirement decisions, as older workers in poor health are often forced to retire early. Among late retirees, in contrast, there was about a similar share of individuals in good and poor health. As late retirement does not necessarily have to go along with poor health (i.e., individuals who could not afford to retire and would have to work despite their poor heath), this may imply that older workers in good health chose to extend their working lives among different other options (e.g., leisure activities). However, our analysis indicated that women, individuals with lower levels of income, and those with lower levels of education were more likely to be in late retirement and poor health or early death; thus, constituting more vulnerable groups. Institutional predictors. Second, of all welfare regimes, older workers in the corporatist and Southern European welfare regimes most frequently followed on-time or early retirement trajectories – while being more frequently in good health in corporatist countries and more frequently in poor health in Southern countries. Descriptive analyses further showed that older workers in liberal welfare regimes are more likely follow late retirement trajectories and in particular, late retirement trajectories in poor health. However, including the social norm into the analysis picks up the effect of the welfare regime and our results clearly show that the social norm best explains late retirement combined with poor health. This finding indicates that if the social norms for working longer are strong (i.e., where it is considered normal that older workers aged above 65 are working), individuals comply with the social norm even under the condition of poor health. Due to such social norms, alternative satisfying opportunities for being engaged in societal life other than work may be lacking, so that older adults work until they are no longer able to or die. Conclusion Our study has important implications for a theoretical understanding of the role of macro-level factors on late-life employment trajectories using a life course perspective. Specifically, our findings suggest that both formal and informal institutional factors (i.e., welfare regimes and social norms) significantly determine the employment-health trajectories that older workers experience in later life. Future studies should explore how the social norm for working longer interacts with the welfare regimes: For instance, does the social norm lead to changes in social policy, or rather vice versa? In terms of practical implications, this work further implies that policies must target social norms in addition to welfare regimes. To do so, a long-term approach to change retirement-related institutional cultures is needed.
URI: https://digitalcollection.zhaw.ch/handle/11475/19878
Fulltext version : Published version
License (according to publishing contract) : Licence according to publishing contract
Departement: Health Professions
Organisational Unit: Institute of Health Sciences (IGW)
Published as part of the ZHAW project : Gesundheitliche Ungleichheit im Kontext einer Verlängerung des Arbeitslebens
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