European Journal of Ageing

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 25–37 | Cite as

How voluntary is the active ageing life? A life-course study on the determinants of extending careers

  • Ignacio Madero-CabibEmail author
  • Laure Kaeser
Original Investigation


In Switzerland, as in many other European states, there is an increasing emphasis in public policy on promoting later retirement from the labour market. But this accelerating drive in Swiss policy-making to extend occupational activity does not mean that every worker is currently likely to retire late, nor does it imply that all those who do retire late do so voluntarily. This article uses a life-course approach, first to study the determinants of late retirement, and secondly to analyse whether the decision to postpone retirement is made voluntarily or involuntarily. Both objectives are addressed on the basis of data from the Swiss survey Vivre/Leben/Vivere. The results of logistic regression modelling indicate that, whereas self-employed and more highly educated individuals are more likely to retire late, people with access to private pension funds and workers who have benefited from periods of economic growth have a lower tendency to retire late. Regarding voluntariness, those who are more likely to opt for voluntary late retirement tend to be Swiss citizens, more highly educated, and also benefited from periods of economic expansion, while the self-employed, men and widowed individuals leaving the labour market late tend to do so involuntarily. In conclusion, the article discusses the absence of a social inequality debate in the design of active ageing policies.


Late retirement Voluntariness of retirement Active ageing policies Life-course determinants 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LIVES Research Centre – Life Course and Inequality Research CentreUniversity of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland
  2. 2.LIVES Research Centre – Centre for the Interdisciplinary Study of Gerontology and VulnerabilityUniversity of Applied Sciences and Arts of Western SwitzerlandCarougeSwitzerland

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