Changes in retirement policies and cohort differences: Their impact on age at retirement, income, health, and mortality
Extending labour market participation of older workers is a current target of European policy, but the role of health prior to and post-retirement is largely ignored. This study examines health, social-contextual and work characteristics as factors determining the timing and conditions of retirement and of post-retirement health, income needs and longevity over two decades. It addresses the question if the trade-off between the societal gains of delaying retirement and the societal costs of health and social care is positive or negative. Applying an international and timecomparative perspective, it examines how different pension systems affect this trade-off. These issues can only be addressed by comparing cohorts over time and across different countries. Over the past decades, increases have been observed in the prevalence of chronic diseases, obesity and (mild) disability on the one hand, and decreases in physical and increases in mental work demands on the other hand. These factors may affect the timing of retirement, pension needs, dependence on health care, and eventually longevity. This study focuses on (healthy) working life expectancy, post-retirement (healthy) life expectancy and income needs, and their determinants, in three Dutch cohorts that experienced different retirement policies around their age at retirement, from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA). A broad range of information is available, including objective indicators of physical and mental health, work characteristics, retirement conditions, and social context. Comparison is made with similar studies in countries with different pension systems: the USA, Germany, and Norway.