French Politics

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 229–252

Paths to Retirement: The French Life-Course Regime and the Regulation of Older Workers’ Employment

  • Susan Milner

DOI: 10.1057/palgrave.fp.8200130

Cite this article as:
Milner, S. Fr Polit (2007) 5: 229. doi:10.1057/palgrave.fp.8200130


The article critically examines the plan for the employment of older workers, presented by the French government in 2006, within the context of domestic policy reform and current shifts in the relationship between state, business and labour. It assesses the extent to which the plan represents a paradigmatic shift in the French life-course regime or age arrangements, which have been characterized as an extreme example of early labour market exit culture. Whereas other continental European countries in a similar situation in the early 1990s carried out reforms to reverse the age culture, France has experienced difficulties in carrying out reform. Together with the 1993 and 2003 pension reforms, the 2006 plan marks a shift in discourse and policy orientation, in line with the normative framework provided by the European Union. However, path dependency is shown in the mode of implementation and in the piecemeal nature of reform, which limits its impact.


employment policy labour market regulation older workers life-course regimes national-level bargaining 

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan Ltd 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan Milner
    • 1
  1. 1.European Research Institute, University of BathBathUK

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