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Cumulative (Dis)advantage? The Impact of Labour Market Policies on Late Career Employment from a Life Course Perspective


We investigate the labour market situation of older individuals in Europe in relation to their previous employment history as well as the regulations relating to employment protection legislation and early retirement. Specifically, we look at the competing risks of early retirement and late career unemployment. The central research question is whether policy effects differ according to the characteristics of an individual's previous work history. We employ data for twelve European countries from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARELIFE) and estimate multilevel regression models. The results show different mechanisms for the risks of unemployment and early retirement. Late career unemployment results from individual factors related to fragmented careers, marginal employment and short tenures. In the case of early retirement, we find the interplay of individual and policy factors to be crucial. Persons with consistent careers have an increased probability of early retirement, but only in countries with generous early retirement benefits. However, employment protection legislation appears to counteract early retirement for this group of individuals. We conclude that policy factors do not have uniform effects for older individuals, but should rather be viewed against the background of previous developments in individual career paths.

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Journal of Social Policy
  • ISSN: 0047-2794
  • EISSN: 1469-7823
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-social-policy
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