Accessibility of Training in Older Age; A Longitudinal European Perspective

Investments in lifelong learning often create unsatisfactory results and contribute to reproduction of inequalities. A lifecourse approach allows the study of accumulation mechanisms and discovering how path dependency in behaviours relates to macrostructural mechanisms. Using data from the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), we trace individual training trajectories in the population of 50+ in twelve European countries between 2010 and 2015 (27 370 respondents). We use a hierarchical Bayesian logit model to assess the probability of training during the sixth wave, with a lagged dependent variable as a predictor. Results suggest that training participation is path-dependent and access to training is limited for people who have not trained previously. We find a relationship between a macrostructural context and path dependency during training. An interaction between macro-predictors and the lagged dependent variable shows that access to training is greater in countries with stronger knowledge economies, stronger emphasis on education, and a proactive ageing climate. The size of the welfare system plays no role. These results have implications for policies that address problems of cohesion, active ageing and, adult learning. We argue that improvement of accessibility requires adequate measures that take into account path dependency and life course perspective.

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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