Reforming Welfare States and Changing Capitalism: Reversing Early Retirement Regimes in Europe
Early exit from work has been a major trend since the onset of mass unemployment during the 1970s, whereas the reversal of early retirement has been on the agenda of welfare state reform for about two decades. Most prominently, the European Union (EU) set the Lisbon 2010 target to achieve higher employment rates (above 50 per cent) among older workers (aged 55–64). However, only some EU countries were able to meet this goal since early retirement has become deeply entrenched. The rise and subsequent persistence of early retirement has been seen as a consequence of the expansion of social rights as well as a reaction to economic developments; these are commonly interpreted as ‘pull’ versus ‘push’ factors.
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