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Working Beyond age 65 in Ireland

Abstract

Extending working lives is often proposed as one route through which the costs associated with population ageing can be managed. In that context, understanding who currently works for longer can help policymakers to design policies to facilitate longer working. In particular, it is important to know if longer working is a choice or a necessity, where necessity arises from a lack of pension income. In this paper, we use data from the first four waves of the Irish Longitudinal Study of Ageing (TILDA), covering the period 2010–2016, to examine patterns of employment among men and women aged 65+. We find that a lack of pension income is an important determinant of later-life working and that this applies for both men and women. Although older women are significantly less likely to work than older men, we find few differences in the pattern of determinants of longer working among older men and women. However, while women are significantly less likely to work than men, this effect is stronger among married women compared to single women. This suggests that older women without immediate access to family-provided financial support may need to work to support themselves. This adds to the picture of later life work being a necessity as opposed to a choice. However, an alternative explanation is that older married women may also have caring responsibilities that reduce their labour force participation.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    In 2016, the EU-28 average employment rate for 65+ year old men was 8.2% (ranging from 2.4% in Spain to 23.8% in Estonia), while for women the EU-28 average was 3.2% (ranging from 1.2% in Belgium to 26.2% in Estonia). See https://stats.oecd.org/ for details [last accessed 7 December 2017].

  2. 2.

    This category includes unpaid work in family business, temporarily away from work, or participating in apprenticeship or an employment programme, such as Community Employment.

  3. 3.

    In TILDA, hours of work are not recorded for the non-farming self-employed.

  4. 4.

    For those not engaged in farming, the nature of their business or activity is classified according to the NACE Rev. 2 industry classification. Data on NACE sector are not shown in Table 4.

  5. 5.

    Using data from the CSO Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS), Redmond et al. (2017) find no effect of the abolition of the state pension (transition) on the probability of retirement among 65-year olds in Ireland.

  6. 6.

    Boeri and Brugiavini (2008), exploiting a natural experiment in Italy that changed incentives for early retirement found stronger effects of the policy change for men than for women, although the effect for women was dependent on the number and length of ‘gaps in career’.

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Acknowledgements

This research was funded under the ESRI/Pensions Authority Research Programme ‘TILDA and the Financial Dimensions of Retirement’. The authors thank The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) for access to the data.

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Correspondence to Anne Nolan.

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Appendix

Appendix

Table 10 Transition probabilities, Men, 50+, Wave 1 (2010) – Wave 2 (2012)
Table 11 Transition Probabilities, Women, 50+, Wave 1 (2010) – Wave 2 (2012)
Table 12 Employment characteristics of working Men and Women aged 50–64, 2010
Table 13 Further robustness checks on probit model of working Aged 65+ (Marginal Effects)

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Nolan, A., Barrett, A. Working Beyond age 65 in Ireland. Population Ageing 12, 299–326 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12062-019-09249-3

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Keywords

  • Retirement
  • Pensions
  • Older workers
  • Ireland

JEL Classification

  • D14
  • H55
  • J14
  • J26