Dynamics and Perspectives
Edited by Peter Ester, Ruud Muffels, Joop Schippers and Ton Wilthagen
Chapter 10: Active Ageing in Europe: Innovating the Management of Transitions from Work to Retirement
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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