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The Transition from Work to Retirement

Author: WERNER EICHHORST
Published in GPS, Vol. 7 No. 1

The European Employment Strategy has set the goal of raising the retirement
age of workers in the EU through a strategy of “active ageing”. Yet despite
some progress over the last decade, empirical data show persistent diversity
across EU member states. Institutional arrangements of social and labor market
policies can be seen as the core factors behind cross-national diversity. Hence,
institutional change is crucial to explain structural changes. The paper tries to
assess the role of supranational policy initiatives and national politico-economic
factors in shaping the transition from work to retirement in EU member states
which is still governed by the national political economy. Taking the German
case as an example in point, the paper shows the dynamic interaction between
policy changes, in particular in benefit systems and activation, and changes in
the approach of firms and workers to early retirement. Policy changes influence
actors’ behavior in the medium run and open up opportunities for subsequence
reforms.

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