Advertisement

Social Indicators Research

, Volume 136, Issue 3, pp 1031–1051 | Cite as

The Search for Happiness: Work Experiences and Quality of Life of Older Taiwanese Men

  • Li-Hsueh Wu
  • Ruey-Ming TsayEmail author
Article

Abstract

Taiwan’s pension systems do not always ensure corresponding benefits for those who have achieved their career goals in labor markets, thus retirement decisions are often difficult for the majority of its citizens. Retirement is not only a social institution shaped by labor market and social welfare policy, but also a process affected by personal life chance and family situations, and therefore influences their citizen’s well-being. While scholars have maintained that retirees’ happiness is related to earlier life experiences, there is little empirical evidence that explains this relationship. This paper investigates the midlife work experiences and the resources workers acquired to determine the extent to which they affect the happiness of retirees. Data for examining study hypotheses are drawn from four waves of the Taiwan Longitudinal Survey on Aging. The results indicate that midlife work experiences exert significant influences on life satisfaction, and also play a moderate role on the relationship between seniors’ resources and their life satisfaction. Bridge employment is found to have varying effects on seniors’ life satisfaction depending on their occupation. We conclude that the happiness of older Taiwanese men is mainly a product of both their present situations and their recollections of their earlier occupational experiences.

Keywords

Career employment Bridge employment Timing of retirement Quality of life  Life satisfaction Taiwan 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This study was supported by the grants of Ministry of Science and Technology: a post-doctoral grant to Li-Hsueh Wu, and a research project grant to Ruey-Ming Tsay. Many thanks to the editor and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive suggestions, and to Ching-Li Yang and Wei-Pang Wang for their valuable comments on the manuscripts. The data were drawn from Taiwan Longitudinal Survey on Aging (TSLA), conducted by the Health Promotion Administration, Ministry of Health and Welfare. The dataset is available from the Survey Research Data Archive, Academia Sinica.

References

  1. Baker, L. A., Cahalin, L. P., Gerst, K., & Burr, J. A. (2005). Productive activities and subjective well-being among older adults: The influence of number of activities and time commitment. Social Indicators Research, 73, 431–458.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Beehr, T. A. (1986). The process of retirement: A review and recommendations for future investigation. Personnel Psychology, 39(1), 31–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cahill, K. E., Giandrea, M. D., & Quinn, J. F. (2006). Retirement patterns from career employment. The Gerontologist, 46(4), 514–523.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Calvo, E., Haverstick, K., & Sass, S. A. (2009). Gradual retirement, sense of control, and retirees’ happiness. Research on Aging, 31(1), 113–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Campbell, A. (1976). Subjective measurement of well-being. American Psychologist, 31(2), 117–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chang, C.-F. (2002). The privatization of state-owned enterprises in Taiwan: A critique of the economic myth. Taipei: Institute of Sociology, Academia Sinica.Google Scholar
  7. Chang, C.-F., & Li, Y.-H. (2001). Labor market participation and reemployment of middle to early-old-age displaced workers in Taiwan: An event history analysis of the Taiwan Motor Transportation Company and the China Petroleum Chemicals Company. Taiwanese Sociology, 1, 113–147.Google Scholar
  8. Chang, H.-H., & Yen, S. T. (2011). Full-time, part-time employment and life satisfaction of the elderly. The Journal of Socio-Economics, 40, 815–823.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chen, J., & Chuang, C.-H. (2012). Phased retirement for older workers in Taiwan. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 33(3), 328–337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chen, K.-J., Chuang, W.-C., & Yang, C.-L. (2015). Factors influencing gradual retirement among middle-aged and older workers in Taiwan. Journal of Human Resource Management, 15(1), 87–108.Google Scholar
  11. Choi, N. G. (2001). Relationship between life satisfaction and postretirement employment among older women. The International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 52(1), 45–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Damman, M., Henkens, K., & Kalmijn, M. (2015). Missing work after retirement: The role of life histories in the retirement adjustment process. The Gerontologist, 55(2), 802–813.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dendinger, V. M., Adams, G. A., & Jacobson, J. D. (2005). Reasons for working and their relationship to retirement attitudes, job satisfaction and occupational self-efficacy of bridge employees. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 61, 21–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Deyo, F. C. (1989). Beneath the miracle: Labor subordination in the new Asian industrialism. Berkley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  15. Diener, E., Suh, E. M., Lucas, R. E., & Smith, H. L. (1999). Subjective well-being: Three decades of progress. Psychological Bulletin, 125, 276–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. DiPrete, T. A., & Eirich, G. M. (2006). Cumulative advantage as a mechanism for inequality: A review of theoretical and empirical developments. Annual Review of Sociology, 32, 271–297.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Doeringer, P. B. (1990). Economic security, labor market flexibility, and bridges to retirement. In P. B. Doeringer (Ed.), Bridges to retirement: Older workers in a changing labor market (pp. 3–22). Ithaca, NY: ILR Press.Google Scholar
  18. Dorfman, L. T. (1989). Retirement preparation and retirement satisfaction in the rural elderly. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 8(4), 432–450.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Drobnič, S., Beham, B., & Prag, P. (2010). Good job, good life? Working conditions and quality of life in Europe. Social Indicator Research, 99, 205–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Elder, G. H., & Johnson, M. K. (2003). The life course and aging: Challenges, lessons, and new directions. In R. A. Settersten (Ed.), Invitation to the life course: Towards new understanding of later life (pp. 49–81). New York: Baywood.Google Scholar
  21. Erikson, R., Goldthorpe, J. H., & Portocarrero, L. (1979). Intergenerational class mobility in three Western European societies: England, France and Sweden. British Journal of Sociology, 30, 415–441.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Feldman, D. C. (1994). The decision to retire early: A review and conceptualization. Academy of Management Review, 19, 285–311.Google Scholar
  23. Ferraro, K. F., & Shippee, T. P. (2009). Aging and cumulative inequality: How does inequality get under the skin? The Gerontologist, 49, 333–343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ferraro, K. F., Shippee, T. P., & Schafer, M. H. (2009). Cumulative inequality theory for research on aging and the life course. In V. L. Bengston, D. Gans, N. Putney, & M. Silverstein (Eds.), Handbook of theories of aging (2nd ed., pp. 413–433). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  25. Ferriss, A. L. (2004). The quality of life concept in sociology. The American Sociologist, 35(3), 37–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. George, L. K. (2010). Still happy after all these years: Research frontiers on subjective well-being in later life. Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 65B(3), 331–339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Han, S.-K., & Moen, P. (1999). Clocking out: Temporal patterning of retirement. American Journal of Sociology, 105(1), 191–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hardy, M., & Shuey, K. M. (2000). Pensions decisions in a changing economy: Gender, structure and choice. Journal of Gerontology: Social Science, 55, S271–S277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hayward, M. D., Friedman, S., & Chen, H. (1998). Career trajectories and older men’s retirement. The Journal of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 53(2), S91–S103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kim, S., & Feldman, D. C. (2000). Working in retirement: The antecedents of bridge employment and its consequences for quality of life in retirement. Academy of Management Journal, 43(6), 1195–1210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kim, J. E., & Moen, P. (2002). Retirement transitions, gender, and psychological well-being: A life-course, ecological model. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 57(3), 212–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Ko, J.-J., & Chang, P.-C. (2014). Segmented labor market? An investigation of job mobility and wage differences between standard and nonstandard workers in Taiwan. Taiwanese Journal of Sociology, 55, 127–177.Google Scholar
  33. Kohli, M., & Rein, M. (1991). The changing balance of work and retirement. In M. Kohli, M. Rein, A. M. Guillemard, & H. van Gunsteren (Eds.), Time for retirement: Comparative studies of early exit from the labor force (pp. 1–35). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Krause, N. (2004). Lifetime trauma, emotional support, and life satisfaction among older adults. The Gerontologist, 44(5), 615–622.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kuo, S.-C. (2008). On the life course of the formation of health behavior: The example of areca quid chewing of taxi drivers. Taiwan Journal of Public Health, 27(5), 385–398.Google Scholar
  36. Lue, J.-D., Yeh, H.-J., & Wei, S.-E. (2010). Activation strategies for retired human resources. Taipei: Research, Development and Evaluation Commission.Google Scholar
  37. Marshall, V. W., Clarke, P. J., & Ballantyne, P. J. (2001). Instability in the retirement transition: Effects on health and well-being in a Canadian study. Research on Aging, 23, 379–409.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Maule, A. J., Cliff, D. R., & Taylor, R. (1996). Early retirement decisions and how they affect later quality of life. Ageing and Society, 16(2), 177–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Ministry of the Interior. (2016). An analysis of population structure in the end of 2015. Interior Statistical Bulletin, 3rd week, 2016.Google Scholar
  40. National Development Council. (2014). Population projections for R.O.C. (Taiwan): 2014–2060. Taipei: National Development Council.Google Scholar
  41. Neugarten, B. L., Havighurst, R. J., & Tobin, S. S. (1961). The measurement of life satisfaction. Journal of Gerontology, 16, 134–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Nikolova, M., & Garol, C. (2014). Employment, late-life work, retirement, and well-being in Europe and the United States. Journal of European Labor Studies, 3(1), 1–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. O’Rand, A. M. (1996). The precious and the precocious: Understanding cumulative disadvantage and cumulative advantage over the life course. The Gerontologist, 36, 230–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. O’Rand, A. M. (2006). Stratification and the life course: Social origins, life course capital and cohort inequality. In R. H. Binstock, L. K. George, S. J. Cutler, J. Hendricks, & J. H. Schulz (Eds.), Handbook of aging and the social sciences (6th ed., pp. 145–162). New York: Academic Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Quick, H. E., & Moen, P. (1998). Gender, employment and retirement quality: A life course approach to differential experiences of men and women. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 3(1), 44–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Quinn, J. F., Burkhauser, R. V., & Myers, D. A. (1990). Passing the torch: The influence of economic incentives on work and retirement. Kalamazoo, MI: Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Quinn, J. F., & Kozy, M. (1996). The role of bridge jobs in the retirement transition: Gender, race, and ethnicity. The Gerontologist, 36(3), 363–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Quinn, S., Wells, Y., de Vaus, D., & Kendig, H. (2007). When choice in retirement decisions is missing: Qualitative and quantitative findings of impact on well-being. Australasian Journal on Aging, 26(4), 173–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Radl, J. (2013). Labour market exit and social stratification in western Europe: The effects of social class and gender on the timing of retirement. European Sociological Review, 29(3), 654–668.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Raymo, J. M., Warren, J. R., Sweeney, M. M., Hauser, R. M., & Ho, J.-H. (2011). Precarious employment, bad jobs, labor unions, and early retirement. The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 66, 249–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Robertson, D. A., King-Kallimanis, L., & Kenny, R. A. (2016). Negative perceptions of aging predict longitudinal decline in cognitive function. Psychology and Aging, 31(1), 71–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Royston, P. (2005). Multiple imputation of missing values: Update of ice. Stata Journal, 5(4), 527–536.Google Scholar
  53. Royston, P., Carlin, J. B., & White, I. R. (2009). Multiple imputation of missing values: New features for mim. Stata Journal, 9(2), 252–264.Google Scholar
  54. Rubin, D. B. (1987). Multiple imputation for nonresponse in surveys. New York: Wiley.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Ruhm, C. J. (1990). Career jobs, bridge employment and retirement. In P. B. Doeringer (Ed.), Bridges to retirement: Older workers in a changing labor market (pp. 92–107). Ithaca, NY: ILR Press.Google Scholar
  56. Schafer, M. H., & Ferraro, K. F. (2012). Children misfortune as a threat to successful aging: Avoiding disease. The Gerontologist, 52(1), 111–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Schafer, M. H., Ferraro, K. F., & Mustillo, S. A. (2011). Children of misfortune: Early adversity and cumulative inequality in perceived life trajectories. American Journal of Sociology, 116(4), 1053–1091.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Schussler, K. F., & Fisher, G. A. (1985). Quality of life research and sociology. Annual Review of Sociology, 11, 139–149.Google Scholar
  59. Settersten, R. A. (2003). Propositions and controversies in life-course scholarship. In R. A. Settersten (Ed.), Invitation to the life course: Towards new understanding of later life (pp. 15–48). New York: Baywood.Google Scholar
  60. Shultz, K. S., Morton, K. R., & Weckerle, J. R. (1998). The influence of push and pull factors on voluntary and involuntary early retirees’ retirement decision and adjustment. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 53(1), 45–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Singh, G., & Verma, A. (2003). Work history and later-life labor force participation: Evidence from a large telecommunications firm. Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 56(4), 699–715.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Song, L. (2011). Social capital and psychological distress. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 52(4), 478–492.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Taiwan Provincial Institute of Family Planning. (1996). 1996 survey of the elderly health care and career planning in Taiwan. Retrieved from http://www.hpa.gov.tw/BHPNet/Web/HealthTopic/Topic.aspx?id=200712270002.
  64. Tsay, R.-M., & Wu, L.-H. (2014a). Social policies, retirement arrangements and inequalities of ageing in Taiwan. In R. K. H. Chan, L. L.-R. Wang, & J. O. Zinn (Eds.), Social issues and policy in east Asia: Family, ageing and work (pp. 97–116). Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.Google Scholar
  65. Tsay, R.-M., & Wu, L.-H. (2014b). The lasting power: Work experiences and well-being of elders. In Symposium conducted at the 5th forum of cross-straits regional development on “Cooperative innovation and sustainable development.” Taichung: Tunghai University. 16–17 Dec 2014.Google Scholar
  66. Tsay, R.-M., Yeh, H.-J., & Chuang, C.-C. (2009). The effects of human capital on job promotions in Taiwan: A comparison of schooling, tenure and training. Social Transformations in Chinese Societies, 5, 113–140.Google Scholar
  67. Tseng, M.-C. (2001). The current status and changes of unemployment for the older workers: A comparison between the periods of 1982–1986 and 1996–2000. Taiwanese Journal of Sociology, 25, 243–279.Google Scholar
  68. Veenhoven, R. (2007). Quality-of-life research. In C. D. Bryant & D. L. Peck (Eds.), 21st century sociology, a reference handbook (pp. 54–62). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  69. Wahrendorf, M., Blane, D., Bartley, M., Dragano, N., & Siegrist, J. (2013). Working conditions in mid-life and mental health in older ages. Advances in Life Course Research, 18(1), 16–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Wang, W.-P., Fan, G.-H., & Chao, H.-K. (2015). Social relationships, religious participation, and elderly well-being in Taiwan. In R.-M. Tsay (Ed.), Searching for happiness in later life: Quality of life and living environment in an aging society (pp. 71–106). Taipei: Chuliu Publishing.Google Scholar
  71. Wang, M., Henkens, K., & van Solinge, H. (2011). Retirement adjustment: A review of theoretical and empirical advancement. American Psychologist, 66(3), 204–213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Wang, M., & Shultz, K. S. (2010). Employee retirement: A review and recommendations for future investigation. Journal of Management, 36, 172–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Wilkinson, L. R., Shippee, T. P., & Ferraro, K. F. (2012). Does occupational mobility influence health among working women? Comparing objective and subjective measures of work trajectories. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 53(4), 432–447.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Wong, J., & Hardy, M. (2009). Women’s retirement expectations: How stable are they? Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 64B(1), 77–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Wu, L.-H. (2015). Are they traceable? Retirement arrangements, labor participation, and elderly well-being. In R.-M. Tsay (Ed.), Searching for happiness in later life: Quality of life and living environment in an aging society (pp. 29–69). Taipei: Chuliu Publishing.Google Scholar
  76. Yeh, H.-J., Wei, S.-E., & Lue, J.-D. (2016). Re-employment after retirement: Activation strategies for older people in Taiwan. In R. K. H. Chan, J. O. Zinn, & L. L.-R. Wang (Eds.), New life courses, social risks and social policy in East Asia. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  77. Zhan, Y., Wang, M., Liu, S., & Shultz, K. S. (2009). Bridge employment and retirees’ health: A longitudinal investigation. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 14, 374–389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyTunghai UniversityTaichungTaiwan
  2. 2.Institute for Advanced Studies on AsiaThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan

Personalised recommendations