Friday, 2 January 2015

Employment, late-life work, retirement, and well-being in Europe and the United States

an article by Milena Nikolova and Carol Graham (The Brookings Institution, Washington, DC and University of Maryland) published in IZA Journal of European Labor Studies Volume 3, Number 5 (2014)


Flexible work arrangements and retirement options provide one solution for the challenges of unemployment and underemployment, aging populations, and unsustainable public pension systems in welfare states around the world.

We examine the relationships between well-being and job satisfaction on the one hand and employment status and retirement, on the other, using Gallup World Poll data for several European countries and the United States.

We find that voluntary part-time workers are happier, experience less stress and anger, and have higher job satisfaction than other employees. Using statistical matching, we show that late-life workers under voluntary part-time or full-time arrangements have higher well-being than retirees.

There is no well-being premium for involuntary late-life work and self-employment compared to retirement, however. Our findings inform ongoing debates about the optimal retirement age and the fiscal burdens of public pension systems.

JEL codes: J14; J21; J26; J28; I31; Z18

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

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