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Work and welfare in the UK and USA
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Retirement is being ‘reconstructed’, with the UK following the US path of abolishing mandatory retirement and increasing state pension ages. This timely book assesses prospects for work and retirement at age 65-plus in the UK and US.

Part 1 explores the shifting ‘policy logics’ in both countries that increase both the need and opportunities to work past age 65. Part 2 presents an original comparative statistical analysis on the wide range of factors influencing employment at this age. Part 3 proposes a series of policies across the life-course that would promote security and autonomy for older people.

Pathways to employment after 65 are complex and pressures to work at this age are likely to result in very unequal outcomes. This book is essential reading for researchers, students and practitioners interested in the late careers and the future of retirement.

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This chapter explores how health influences employment past age 65 in the United States and England. This is of policy interest, because England followed the United States by extending age-discrimination legislation above 65 in 2011. Drawing conclusions about the health-related capacity of this age group to work is, however, a challenge. Common health measures are often problematic for use with older workers, particularly when they are used to make comparisons between countries. Nevertheless, the most appropriate health measures are identified from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing and the US Health and Retirement Study. The survey analysis presented shows that, in both countries, health limitations had the strongest negative impact on employment for the poorest over-65s. This suggests that the ‘financial benefits’ of working are likely to be limited for the over-65s most in need of additional income.

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The concluding chapter summarises current paths towards a reconstruction of retirement and discusses policy alternatives to arrive at more equitable employment/retirement outcomes for older people. The reconstruction of retirement is not simply the result of a weak or inactive ‘liberal’ state. As the analysis in Part One shows, the state has played an active role in attempting to reconstruct retirement through the promotion of employment beyond age 65. The state will necessarily have an active role in seeking to reconstruct retirement; what is required, however, are ‘life-course’ policies that positively support opportunities for the employment and retirement of people when they reach older age. A range of policies are therefore proposed across the life course that would increase the financial security of older people and enhance individual autonomy over retirement and employment decisions. This would help bring about a new policy logic of ‘self-determination’, rather than self-reliance.

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Author:

Retirement is being ‘reconstructed’, with the UK following the US path of abolishing mandatory retirement and increasing state pension ages. This timely book assesses prospects for work and retirement at age 65-plus in the UK and US. Part 1 explores the shifting ‘policy logics’ in both countries that increase both the need and opportunities to work past age 65. For the UK this represents a shift away from a ‘paternalistic’ policy logic, closer to a US ‘self-reliance’ model. Part 2 presents an original comparative statistical analysis on the factors influencing employment at this age. This is based on an analysis of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing and the US Health and Retirement Study. Part 3 proposes a series of policies across the life-course that would promote security and autonomy for older people – a new policy logic of ‘self-determination’. Pathways to employment after age 65 are complex and pressures to work at this age are likely to result in very unequal outcomes. This book is essential reading for researchers, students and practitioners interested in the late careers and the future of retirement.

Restricted access
Author:

Retirement is being ‘reconstructed’, with the UK following the US path of abolishing mandatory retirement and increasing state pension ages. This timely book assesses prospects for work and retirement at age 65-plus in the UK and US. Part 1 explores the shifting ‘policy logics’ in both countries that increase both the need and opportunities to work past age 65. For the UK this represents a shift away from a ‘paternalistic’ policy logic, closer to a US ‘self-reliance’ model. Part 2 presents an original comparative statistical analysis on the factors influencing employment at this age. This is based on an analysis of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing and the US Health and Retirement Study. Part 3 proposes a series of policies across the life-course that would promote security and autonomy for older people – a new policy logic of ‘self-determination’. Pathways to employment after age 65 are complex and pressures to work at this age are likely to result in very unequal outcomes. This book is essential reading for researchers, students and practitioners interested in the late careers and the future of retirement.

Restricted access
Author:

Retirement is being ‘reconstructed’, with the UK following the US path of abolishing mandatory retirement and increasing state pension ages. This timely book assesses prospects for work and retirement at age 65-plus in the UK and US. Part 1 explores the shifting ‘policy logics’ in both countries that increase both the need and opportunities to work past age 65. For the UK this represents a shift away from a ‘paternalistic’ policy logic, closer to a US ‘self-reliance’ model. Part 2 presents an original comparative statistical analysis on the factors influencing employment at this age. This is based on an analysis of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing and the US Health and Retirement Study. Part 3 proposes a series of policies across the life-course that would promote security and autonomy for older people – a new policy logic of ‘self-determination’. Pathways to employment after age 65 are complex and pressures to work at this age are likely to result in very unequal outcomes. This book is essential reading for researchers, students and practitioners interested in the late careers and the future of retirement.

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This chapter examines changes to retirement incomes that increase the financial need for individuals to work beyond age 65 in the UK and US. It starts by returning to the original guiding principles of pension provision, namely, self-reliance in the US and paternalism in the UK. After this, it reviews changes that increase the financial need to work at age 65-plus – state pension age increases; a withdrawal/reduction of social assistance benefits available at/before age 65; and a decline in defined benefit occupational pensions. Change is shown to be part of an incremental process, with governments/policymakers constructing, and then reconstructing, key institutions that influence work and retirement transitions.

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This chapter examines regulatory changes in the UK and US that increase opportunities to work beyond age 65. Drawing on the concept of ‘conversion’, it shows how both countries came to abolish mandatory retirement. This was intended to enable people to continue working, particularly if they had inadequate retirement incomes. It also reviews regulatory changes that make it easier for individuals to take a pension while working; this further blurs the divide between work and retirement. Finally, it examines the impact of age discrimination legislation on employment in English-speaking countries. Evidence is most comprehensive in the US, where mandatory retirement was abolished first. This indicates a clearer impact on the retention of older workers, rather than their recruitment.

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This chapter examines the pathways to working at age 65-plus. It presents an analysis of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing and the US Health and Retirement Study. This focuses on individuals aged 65 to 74 in 2012, and traces their employment histories back to 2002. The findings challenge the policy assumption that extending working lives is as straightforward as getting individuals to stay on in their jobs for a few more years. Higher US employment, compared with England, was not simply the result of people in long-term jobs staying on beyond 65. Americans were also more likely to move into new jobs in older age and/or return to work after an absence. The wider US literature nevertheless suggests that fewer people work ‘in retirement’ than expect to. Realistic opportunities to work at 65-plus are therefore likely to be less certain than policy assumes.

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In this chapter we examine the capability of individuals to work at age 65 to 74, with a focus on qualifications, health and caring responsibilities. This is based on analysis of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing and the US Health and Retirement Study. In both countries qualifications increased the likelihood of working; college educated individuals were around twice as likely to work as those with below secondary qualifications. In addition, significant numbers of individuals faced health constraints on employment, with poor health reducing the likelihood of working most acutely for the low educated. The impact of a partners’ health on employment was mixed, perhaps because some continued working for financial reasons and others left to provide care. In sum, it is clear that work-capability issues make employment at age 65-plus challenging for significant numbers of individuals.

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