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The long and winding road: A life course approach to retirement behaviour
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. (Panel Survey of Ageing and the Elderly)
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background: This thesis explores the retirement behaviour of older people approaching retirement decisions. The research questions in focus deal with the attitudes toward work, the retirement preferences and the subjective well-being of the "youngest old", i.e. people aged 55–64. The included studies analyse the social determinants of these subjective evaluations and how they predict the timing of retirement and post-retirement well-being.

Methods: In the included studies, methods are used that allow us to follow developments over time. Repeated cross-sectional analyses are employed to examine general developments pertaining to the older work force. These include OLS and logistic regression analysis. Longitudinal analyses are used to follow individual developments over time. These include Structural equation modelling and Cox regression analysis.

Results: The results indicate that subjective evaluations such as attitudes to work and retirement preferences, as well as subjective well-being, are closely related to the structural conditions to which individuals are exposed, i.e. class position and work environment. The results also indicate that subjective evaluations such as preferred exit age and subjective well-being reported while in the work force are determinants of both the timing of retirement (in the case of preferred exit age and pre-retirement subjective well-being) and post-retirement subjective well-being (in the case of pre-retirement subjective well-being).

Also, results indicate that recent policy changes in the Swedish pension systems are reflected in the retirement preferences of the older work force. A comparison of two time-points representing the incentive structure of the old and the new pension systems indicates that preferences were delayed with pension reform.

Conclusion: The thesis contributes a temporal perspective to a research field that is dominated by research studying retirement behaviour at a single point of in time. The included studies underline the value of understanding retirement behaviour as a process rather than an isolated event. The way people evaluate their work, their well-being and their retirement prospects is intimately intertwined with their earlier experience. These subjective evaluations affect future retirement outcomes. Life course approaches offer illuminating tools for examining and explaining the significance of the biographies behind retirement behaviour.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 2013. , 63 p.
Series
Akademiska avhandlingar vid Sociologiska institutionen, Umeå universitet, ISSN 1104-2508
Keyword [en]
Retirement Ageing Life course Well-being Work
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-80798ISBN: 978-91-7459-720-2 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-80798DiVA: diva2:651599
Public defence
2013-10-18, Humanisthuset hörsal E, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 13:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
Panel Survey of ageing and the elderly
Available from: 2013-09-27 Created: 2013-09-26 Last updated: 2013-09-26Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Ageing towards meaningful work?: Age, labour market change and attitudes to work in the Swedish work force, 1979–2003
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Ageing towards meaningful work?: Age, labour market change and attitudes to work in the Swedish work force, 1979–2003
2014 (English)In: Nordic Journal of Social Research, ISSN 1892-2783, E-ISSN 1892-2783, Vol. 5, no 1, 161-189 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A central finding in earlier research is that attitudes to work generally are more positive among older workers than among younger workers. This result has been interpreted in two different ways, by the cultural and the structural hypotheses. The cultural hypothesis sees age differences as outcomes of generational differences. We would expect that different cohorts should hold different work attitudes and that the work values of an age group at an earlier point in time should be different from the work values of the same age group at a later point in time. The structural hypothesis sees age differences as expressions of labour market inequality between older and younger workers. This point of view leads us to expect that age differences in work attitudes will follow changes in the job structure and in working conditions.

Drawing on data from the Swedish survey of living conditions (ULF), attitude change within the Swedish work force during the period 1979–2003 was examined. Three sub-periods, 1986/1987, 1994 through 1996 and 2001 through 2003 were compared to 1979, the year of reference. The main results showed that a consistently lower share of the work force held extrinsic work values in the subsequent periods and this applied to all age groups. The results did not support the assumption that broader cultural differences between generations are central explanations of differences in work values. Older workers held extrinsic work values to a lesser degree than younger workers regardless of period. Most strikingly the gap between the youngest group on the labour market (aged 16

–29) and the older ones widened during the period. Furthermore, class differences in the distribution of the extrinsic attitude were intact throughout the study period; manual employees were consistently more likely to hold an extrinsic attitude than were service class employees. This implies that differences in the probability of extrinsic work attitudes have been identifiable regardless of period, but that their prevalence has decreased since jobs involving features related to extrinsic work values have decreased since 1979.

Keyword
age, work attitudes, labour market change
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-80803 (URN)
Projects
Panel survey of ageing and the elderly
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare
Note

Originally included in thesis in manuscript form.

Available from: 2013-09-26 Created: 2013-09-26 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
2. A wish come true?: A Longitudinal Analysis of the Relationship between Retirement Preferences and the Timing of Retirement
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A wish come true?: A Longitudinal Analysis of the Relationship between Retirement Preferences and the Timing of Retirement
2013 (English)In: Journal of Population Ageing, ISSN 1874-7884, E-ISSN 1874-7876, ISSN 1874-7884, Vol. 6, no 1-2, 99-118 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study examines the relationship between retirement preferences, expressed as preferred retirement age, and actual retirement age in Sweden. The data were drawn from the Swedish Panel Survey of Ageing and the Elderly (PSAE). The PSAE was fielded in 2002 and 2003 with the aim of mapping living conditions of older people in Sweden. The data, which have a powerful longitudinal component, cover a broad spectrum of welfare indicators such as health, daily activities, social interactions, labour market and working conditions, and attitudes towards and experiences of retirement. Cox regression analysis was employed to explore whether and to what extent retirement preferences had any impact on actual retirement age. The results imply that retirement preferences do represent, in relation to other known key factors, an isolated influence on retirement patterns. The introduction of time-dependent variables strengthened this argument by showing how the “hazard” for the timing of retirement varied during the study period: those who preferred to retire close the end point of the study period were more likely to retire at this time than those who preferred to retire after the end of the study period and those who preferred to retire at the beginning of the study period. The results also indicated that the categories that wished to retire close to the beginning of the study period were more likely to retire at this point of time. The study thus provides empirical support for those researchers, debaters and policymakers who have addressed the importance of changing preferences towards later retirement in order to prolong working life.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Netherlands, 2013
Keyword
Retirement preferences - Timing of retirement – Postponed retirement age - Older workers
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-64066 (URN)10.1007/s12062-012-9075-7 (DOI)
Available from: 2013-01-14 Created: 2013-01-14 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
3. Retirement preferences before and after pension reform: Evidence from a Swedish natural experiment
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Retirement preferences before and after pension reform: Evidence from a Swedish natural experiment
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This study examines the change of retirement preferences in the Swedish work force between 2002/2003 (t0) and 2010/2011 (t1). In 2003 a new pension system was introduced in Sweden. A central aim was to postpone retirement. Work incentives were strengthened by linking benefits more closely to the individual’s labour market participation. Also, older workers were given the right to work until age 67 which meant that age 65 was abandoned as the statutory age of retirement.

Drawing on cross-sectional data from the PSAE surveys in t0 and t1, the aim of the paper is to examine how retirement preferences developed between the time when the new system was about to be introduced and a time when it had been set in place. The study design has the character of a natural experiment. The main results show that there was substantial change in how retirement preferences were distributed in the two time-points.

In general, the 55–64 year-olds in t1 preferred to retire later than the same age group did in t0. The share of the older workforce which preferred to retire beyond 65 doubled and the increase was clustered around age 67. Most strikingly, this pattern applies to most sub-categories. Even those who reported poor health and poor work environment preferred to retire later in t1 than the corresponding category did in the preceding time-point. The results indicate that the strengthened work incentives and public campaigns to raise awareness of them have had a general impact on the older workforce in Sweden. The strong increase in age 67 as a preferred exit age indicates that the norm of suitable exit age is being delayed from 65 to 67.

Keyword
Retirement Retirement preferences Pension reform Ageing
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-80804 (URN)
Projects
Panel Survey of Ageing and the Elderly
Available from: 2013-09-26 Created: 2013-09-26 Last updated: 2013-09-26Bibliographically approved
4. Leaving the labour market: the impact of exit routes from employment to retirement on health and wellbeing in old age
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Leaving the labour market: the impact of exit routes from employment to retirement on health and wellbeing in old age
2013 (English)In: European Journal of Ageing, ISSN 1613-9372, E-ISSN 1613-9380, Vol. 10, no 1, 25-35 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The study analyses whether and to what degree specific routes into retirement affect older people, i.e. the relationship between heterogeneous exit patterns and post-retirement health and wellbeing. We used longitudinal data from two points in time; data related to t 0 were collected in 1993, 1994, 1995 and 1996 and data related to t 1 were collected in 2002 and 2003 (N = 589). We focused on older people (55+ at t 1) who were employed at t 0 and retired at t 1. We used confirmative factor analysis to identify identical measures of health and wellbeing at both t 0 and t 1. Hence, we were able to control for pre-retirement health and wellbeing when evaluating the effects of different exit routes. These routes were defined as dependence on incomes from sickness benefit, disability pension, part-time pension, unemployment insurance and active labour market programmes. Our initial structural equation model showed a clear relation between exit routes and post-retirement wellbeing. People who prior to retirement were pushed into social benefit programmes related to health and unemployment were significantly worse off as retirees, especially those with health-related benefits. However, these relationships disappeared once pre-retirement wellbeing was added to the model. Our main conclusion is that post-retirement wellbeing first and foremost is a consequence of accumulation of advantages and disadvantages during the life course. Both labour market exit routes and post-retirement wellbeing can be seen as outcomes of this process. There are no independent effects of the retirement process. Judging from our findings, there is no reason to believe that involvement in social security programmes allowing early retirement on health grounds has any additional negative consequences for health and wellbeing.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Netherlands, 2013
Keyword
Retirement, Health, Wellbeing, Labour market Longitudinal, Structural equation
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-64033 (URN)10.1007/s10433-012-0250-8 (DOI)
Available from: 2013-01-14 Created: 2013-01-14 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved

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