Older Workers in a Globalizing World
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Older Workers in a Globalizing World

An International Comparison of Retirement and Late-Career Patterns in Western Industrialized Countries

Dirk Hofäcker

This timely book investigates the growth of the early retirement trend and its varying spread among different groups of older workers in fourteen modern societies. It argues for a differentiated political approach to reverse early retirement, which relies on both pension and employability policies for older workers.
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Chapter 5: The Micro-perspective: A Four-country Comparison

Dirk Hofäcker


5. The micro-perspective: a fourcountry comparison In the previous chapter, I have exclusively looked at cross-sectional data on the nation-state level in order to analyze the differential development of early retirement trends in 14 OECD-type countries and their countryspecific institutional determinants. These analyses allowed me to conduct a first test of the theoretical hypotheses developed in Chapter 3. My results showed that, in all countries under study, globalization has in fact triggered an increasing withdrawal of older workers from the active labor force, though with international differences that could be traced back systematically to institutional constellations on the nation-state level. Despite the significance of these findings, my analysis had to remain restricted in analytical terms to the macro-societal level and could at best implicitly address assumptions about labor market processes at the level of individuals. Two central aspects of my theoretical model could therefore not yet be investigated in full. First, the reliance on cross-sectional measures of older workers’ laborforce participation, such as employment or unemployment rates, restricted my analyses to the examination of single labor market states at specific given time points. Though the comparison of such state distributions across time allowed me to draw some implicit conclusions about state changes (e.g. about the extent of older workers’ withdrawal from the active labor force), I could not analyze mobility processes directly on the level of individual older workers such as their moves from employment to unemployment (and vice versa) or job changes within the labor market. For any test...

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