The road less travelled? The role of labor policies for older workers' labor market pathways in European countries

Maria Münderlein, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Ferry Koster, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Pearl Dykstra, Erasmus University Rotterdam

The population and the workforce in European countries is ageing. It is often discussed that labor policies can aim at increasing individuals' labor market participation, and that older workers' pathways towards retirement seem to be increasingly disrupted. In this contribution, the link between those two topics is made by answering the research questions whether older workers' pathways differ in countries with dissimilar labor policies, and how labor policies relate to traditional and untraditional pathways. In the first step, we assess to which extent European countries apply flexicure labor policies and depict the individual pathways in five different countries using sequence analysis. It appears that more disrupted pathways are found in countries with more flexible labor policies. In the second step, we associate the fraction of older workers in traditional pathways, bridge employment and un-retirement to three labor policies often used to 'measure' flexicurity. The results for more than 20 European countries support our hypotheses that policies aiming for flexibility relate to more disrupted pathways, while policies emphasizing security associate with traditional pathways. We discuss these results in the context of the ageing population and recent policy changes.

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Presented in Session 99: Economics, human capital and labour markets