Work, health and retirement

This project analyzes the relationships between, on the one hand, workers’ tasks, vitality and human capital development and, on the other hand, the various transitions from work to retirement and individual health in the increasingly dynamic and flexible Dutch labor market. The project builds on (1) unique matched employer-employee survey panels we developed in collaboration with APG, (2) the CPB-ROA Netherlands Skills Survey (NSS) and (3) register data from hospitals and general practitioners which are matched to administrative data on labor and retirement of Statistics Netherlands. The project includes three lines of research.

First, the project will generate a thorough understanding of the broader societal impact of pension policies. We will estimate the causal effect of past pension reforms in the Netherlands on various related transitions from work to unemployment, bridge jobs, part-time retirement, self-employment, and full-retirement, as well as to employment after mandatory retirement. Moreover, the data allow us to investigate in a very detailed way the extent to which the impact of the introduction of various financial incentives provided by pension reforms differs with workers’ vitality and job tasks.

Second, we will focus on these interrelationships from both an employer and employee perspective as retirement patterns are affected by both supply and demand factors. The incorporation of the employer perspective allows us to uniquely establish the importance of employers’ preferences, their tasks allocations and investments in the human capital of their older workers for individual retirement behavior and workers’ vitality.

Third, we will use the matched register data on health, labor and retirement to analyze general as well as heterogeneous effects of pension reforms on a variety of health outcomes and mortality and to identify the main mechanisms behind these health effects. Although several studies exist that analyze the relationship between health and retirement, little is known on how the unexpected postponement of retirement due to pension reforms impact this relationship.

Our project will focus on the following three research questions related to the above mentioned two lines of research:

  1. What is the impact of the tasks workers have, their human capital development and their vitality on the selection of different pathways from work to retirement in our changing retirement system?
  2. What is the impact of employers’ tasks allocation in jobs, skills demands, and human capital investments on older individuals’ vitality and employment prospects?
  3. What are the short-term and long term effects of the Dutch pension system reforms on health of older employees and retirees? And how heterogeneous are these short-term and long term effects?

View all project publications here

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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