Retirement Transitions in Times of Institutional Change: Theoretical Concept



For more than three decades, many European and other affluent societies have been following a trend of fostering older workers’ exit from employment well before reaching formal retirement ages. Yet, faced with demographic aging, many countries have undergone a substantial change in their policies toward older workers, reflected in a shift to a policy explicitly fostering longer working careers and employment retention of older workers. This introductory chapter takes this institutional shift as a starting point for developing a novel theoretical framework that conceptualizes work and retirement transitions within this changing institutional landscape.


Labor Market Early Retirement Pension System Exit Rate Public Pension 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Bellmann, L., & Janik, F. (2007). Firms and early retirement: Offers that one does not refuse (IZA Discussion Paper No. 2931). Bonn: Institute for the Study of Labor.Google Scholar
  2. Blöndal, S., & Scarpetta, S. (1999). The retirement decision in OECD countries (OECD Economics Department Working Paper 202). Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  3. Blossfeld, H.-P., Buchholz, S., & Hofäcker, D. (2006). Globalization, uncertainty and late careers in society. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blossfeld, H.-P., Buchholz, S., & Kurz, K. (Eds.). (2011). Aging populations, globalization and the labor market: Comparing late working life and retirement in modern societies. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  5. Bytheway, B. (2005). Ageism. In M. Johnson (Ed.), The Cambridge handbook of age and ageing (pp. 338–345). Cambridge: University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Denaeghel, K., Mortelmans, D., & Borghgraef, A. (2011). Spousal influence on the retirement decisions of single-earner and dual-earner couples. Advances in Life Course Research, 16(3), 112–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dorn, D., & Sousa-Poza, A. (2010). “Voluntary” and “involuntary” early retirement: An international analysis. Applied Economics, 42(4), 427–438.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Ebbinghaus, B. (2006). Reforming early retirement in Europe, Japan and the USA. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ebbinghaus, B. (2011). The varieties of pension governance. Private pensions in Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ebbinghaus, B., & Hofäcker, D. (2013). Reversing early retirement in advanced welfare economies: Overcoming push and pull factors. Comparative Population Studies, 38(4), 807–840.Google Scholar
  11. Ebbinghaus, B., & Radl, J. (2015). Pushed out prematurely? Comparing objectively forced exits and subjective assessments of involuntary retirement across Europe. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 41, 115–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. European Commission (DG EMPL), & Social Protection Committee (WG-AGE). (2015). Adequate social protection for long-term care needs in an ageing society. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. Available at:
  13. European Employment Observatory. (2012). Employment policies to promote active aging 2012. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.Google Scholar
  14. Gruber, J., & Wise, D. A. (Eds.). (1999). Social security and retirement around the world. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  15. Gruber, J., & Wise, D. A. (Eds.). (2004). Social security programs and retirement around the world: Micro estimation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  16. Guillemard, A.-M. (1991). Die Destandardisierung des Lebenslaufs in den westlichen Wohlfahrtssaaten. Zeitschrift für Sozialreform, 37(2), 620–639.Google Scholar
  17. Guillemard, A.-M., & van Gunsteren, H. (1991). Pathways and their prospects: A comparative interpretation of the meaning of early exit. In M. Kohli, M. Rein, A.-M. Guillemard, & H. van Gunsteren (Eds.), Time for retirement: Comparative studies on early exit from the labor force (pp. 362–387). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Hall, P. A., & Soskice, D. (2001). An introduction to varieties of capitalism. In P. Hall & D. Soskice (Eds.), Varieties of capitalism: The institutional foundations of comparative advantage (pp. 1–68). New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hofäcker, D. (2010). Older workers in a globalizing world. An international comparison of retirement and late–career patterns in Western industrialized societies. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  20. Hutchens, R. (1999). Social security benefits and employer behavior: Evaluating social security early retirement benefits as a form of unemployment insurance. International Economic Review, 40(3), 659–678.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Jepsen, M., Foden, D., & Hutsebaut, M. (Eds.). (2002). Active strategies for older workers. Brussels: ETUI.Google Scholar
  22. Kohli, M., Rein, M., Guillemard, A.-M., & van Gunsteren, H. (Eds.). (1991). Time for retirement: Comparative studies on early exit from the labor force. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Leisering, L. (2003). Government and the life course. In J. T. Mortimer & M. J. Shanahan (Eds.), Handbook of the life course (pp. 205–225). New York: Kluwer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Mayer, K. U. (2004). Whose lives? How history, societies and institutions define and shape life courses. Research in Human Development, 1(3), 161–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Mulders, J. C., Henkens, K., & Schippers, J. (2016). European top managers’ age-related workplace norms and their organizations’ recruitment and retention practices regarding older workers. The Gerontologist, published online on April 21, 2016.Google Scholar
  26. Müller–Camen, M., Croucher, R., Flynn, M., & Schröder, H. (2011). National institutions and employers’ age management practices in Britain and Germany: “Path dependence” and option creation. Human Relations, 64(4), 507–530.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. OECD. (2015). Pensions at a Glance 2015: OECD and G20 indicators. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  28. Radl, J. (2013). Retirement timing and social stratification: A comparative study of labor market exit and age norms in Western Europe. London: Versita [De Gruyter Open].Google Scholar
  29. Van Solinge, H., & Henkens, K. (2007). Involuntary retirement: The role of restrictive circumstances, timing and social embeddedness. Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 62B(5), 295–303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Van Solinge, H., & Henkens, K. (2014). Work-related factors as predictors in the retirement decision-making process of older workers in the Netherlands. Ageing & Society, 34(9), 1551–1574.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Wang, M. (Ed.). (2012). The Oxford handbook of retirement. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Williams, J., McNair, S., & Aldridge, F. (2010). Expenditure and funding models in lifelong learning. A context paper. Leicester: National Institute of Adult Continuing Education.Google Scholar
  33. Zaidi, A., & Fuchs, M. (2006). Transition from work to retirement in EU25, Policy Brief. Vienna: European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Duisburg-EssenDuisburgGermany
  2. 2.Department of Social SciencesUniversidad Carlos III deMadridSpain

Personalised recommendations