Innovating European Labour Markets

Innovating European Labour Markets

Dynamics and Perspectives 

Edited by Peter Ester, Ruud Muffels, Joop Schippers and Ton Wilthagen

This book examines innovative theoretical perspectives and novel labour market policy responses to Europe’s changing work demands, employment careers and life courses. It presents creative ideas and recommendations for flexicurity policies at various levels and in different social and economic contexts. The driving factors determining the performance of dissimilar pathways in Europe are identified in regard to their impact on the flexibility/security nexus. Key issues in the current European policy debate are addressed, including how innovative policies are designed in the areas of working time, education, work–life balance, employment relations, retirement and migration, how they are put into practice and what determines their level of success.

Chapter 10: Active Ageing in Europe: Innovating the Management of Transitions from Work to Retirement

Günther Schmid

Subjects: economics and finance, labour economics, social policy and sociology, labour policy


Günther Schmid Life should begin with age and its privileges and accumulations, and end with youth and its capacity to splendidly enjoy such advantages (Mark Twain, 1901). 10.1 INTRODUCTION The reversion of the life cycle by Mark Twain, unfortunately, is only a dream. But the slogan of ‘active ageing’ already contains a good deal of that dream. How can the management of transitions from work to retirement contribute towards increasing life quality in Mark Twain’s direction? I argue that people’s possibility to participate in working life as long as they wish and the opportunity to combine paid work with other self-determined activities are essential elements for a high quality of life. Such a policy would also make a contribution towards coping with the employment and pension crisis, but I consider this more as an important side-effect rather than as the main objective of ‘active ageing’. In the tradition of transitional labour market (TLM) theory, I want to set a counter-mark against the exclusive focus on incentives to work, formulated for instance in many documents of the OECD. The TLM perspective aims at increasing the options of transitions from the second to the third life-phase of which gainful employment is only one.1 The argument will be developed in four steps: first, I will turn to the conditions and criteria for good ‘active ageing’ by referring to the concept of TLM and the principles of social risk management; in the second step the huge variation in labour market participation of mature...

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