Based on the theory of Transitional Labour Markets (TLM), this article derives normative criteria for ‘active ageing’. We argue why and under what conditions more employment for older people can help to improve their quality of life and can thus be considered an important part of future social policy. To this end, the article presents a brief review of the employment situation of older workers (aged 55–64) in the different European countries so as to identify what precisely might be required at the level of labour market policy. It systematically discusses the promoting and inhibiting factors behind the significant variation in the employment of older workers across Europe, and tests their explanatory value in a simple statistical model. Finally, we put the quantitative evidence into the perspective of policy examples, summing up some general strategies for ‘active ageing’.
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