The causes and consequences of retirement: a sociological perspective

This project will study the strategies that older men and women (aged 60+) use to cope with the new reality of an extended working life. We will study the determinants of the labor force transitions of older workers before and after retirement, and the consequences for their health and wellbeing, and involvement in other socially productive behaviors such as volunteering and caring. The project aims to answer three overarching research questions:
1. What are the main patterns of work and other productive roles in which older workers are engaged at the end of their labor market careers?
2. How are these patterns of productive behavior influenced by the changing pension institutions, the household context (e.g. spouses), and employers’ policies and behaviors?
3. To what extent are these patterns of productive behavior the result of active planning and agency by older adults developing their own life courses?
The project combines insights from sociology (e.g. that life course transitions are socially embedded in relations with social network members inside and outside the workplace), psychology (emphasize the importance of the differences in plans and attitudes) and labor economics. The project consist of five subprojects that focus on: (1) relationship between unpaid work (caring, volunteering) and retirement; (2) late career decisions in a couple context; (3) the impact of HR policies on retirement and healthy ageing at work; (4) the changing meaning of retirement: understanding retirement plans and actual post-retirement engagement in work and leisure; and (5) part-time retirement: determinants and consequences.

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Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.

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