Secular trends in employment of older workers in the Netherlands and Norway: how influential are policy regulations?

During the years 2000, many European countries have seen rising employment rates of older workers, in parallel with the implementation of new retirement policies that were aimed at stimulating older workers to postpone transitions from work to retirement. There is a widespread belief that the tendencies toward later retirement are attributable to these new
policies (OECD 2017). An evaluation of the true effect of policies, however, should take into account that not only policies themselves, but also other things have changed. For one, more recent generations of workers are increasingly better educated and have occupations requiring more cognitive skills and less physical endurance than those held by earlier generations of workers (Romeu Gordo and Skirbekk 2013, van der Noordt et al 2019). Job strains may also have changed within occupations because tasks have changed due to technological modernisation (Cassidy 2017). Furthermore, particularly female employment rates have increased in the older age groups. Rising employment rates of older women may also have led older male workers to postpone their retirement when their spouse, who is typically a few years younger, is still
working (Ho and Raymo 2009). In view of all these changes, it does not seem likely that the rise in older workers’ employment rates is attributable to policy alone. Accounting for these changes helps to project the actual effect of recent retirement policies.

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