Journal of Population Ageing

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 265–284 | Cite as

Reducing Early Retirement in Europe: Do Working Conditions Matter?

  • Amílcar Moreira
  • Alda Botelho Azevedo
  • Luís P. Manso


The paper argues that the existing literature, based on the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) data, on how working conditions impact on early retirement preferences/plans is hampered by the fact that the approach adopted to capture individuals’ early retirement plans fails to acknowledge that these preferences/plans are defined by reference to the rules that regulate the entitlement to pension benefits. In doing so, these studies risk overestimating the impact of working conditions on early retirement plans. We put forward a more accurate way of capturing individuals’ early retirement preferences/plans, which consists in using information on the age at which respondents plan to start collecting the basic pension benefits, and then computing whether the respondent plans to retire before the official age of retirement in his country of residence. Using SHARE microdata, wave 4, we show that individuals exposed to an imbalance between effort and rewards at work (Siegriest Journal Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 1(1), 27–41, 1996 ) are more likely to plan to take-up early retirement. We also show that the effect of poor working conditions is smaller than one would find using the previous approach to the measurement of early retirement preferences/plans.


Early retirement Effort-reward imbalance Share Working conditions 



This paper uses data from SHARE wave 4 release 1.1.1, as of March 28th 2013. The SHARE data collection has been primarily funded by the European Commission through the 5th Framework Programme (project QLK6-CT-2001-00360 in the thematic programme Quality of Life), through the 6th Framework Programme (projects SHARE-I3, RII-CT-2006-062193, COMPARE, CIT5- CT-2005-028857, and SHARELIFE, CIT4-CT-2006-028812) and through the 7th Framework Programme (SHARE-PREP, N° 211909, SHARE-LEAP, N° 227822 and SHARE M4, N° 261982). Additional funding from the U.S. National Institute on Aging (U01 AG09740-13S2, P01 AG005842, P01 AG08291, P30 AG12815, R21 AG025169, Y1-AG-4553-01, IAG BSR06-11 and OGHA 04-064) and the German Ministry of Education and Research as well as from various national sources is gratefully acknowledged (see for a full list of funding institutions).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amílcar Moreira
    • 1
  • Alda Botelho Azevedo
    • 1
  • Luís P. Manso
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto de Ciências SociaisUniversidade de LisboaLisbonPortugal

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