HEC-Ecole de gestion de l'Université de Liège
HEC-Ecole de gestion de l'Université de Liège

Job Quality, Health and Retirement of Older Workers in Europe

Zehnpfennig, Christoph ULiège
Promotor(s) : Perelman, Sergio ULiège
Date of defense : 21-Aug-2017 • Permalink :
Title : Job Quality, Health and Retirement of Older Workers in Europe
Author : Zehnpfennig, Christoph ULiège
Date of defense  : 21-Aug-2017
Advisor(s) : Perelman, Sergio ULiège
Committee's member(s) : Sousa-Poza, Alfonso 
Schoenmaeckers, Jérome ULiège
Language : English
Keywords : [en] Working Conditions, Health, Retirement, ERI, DCS, Lisbon Strategy, Share
Discipline(s) : Business & economic sciences > Special economic topics (health, labor, transportation...)
Target public : Researchers
Professionals of domain
General public
Institution(s) : Université de Liège, Liège, Belgique
Universität Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany
Degree: Master en sciences économiques, orientation générale, à finalité spécialisée en Economics and Society
Faculty: Master thesis of the HEC-Ecole de gestion de l'Université de Liège


[en] Most of today’s Western societies will likely face problems considering work and retirement. While life expectancy increased steadily, the fertility rate mostly declined, resulting in a substantial demographic change in some countries.
The so called “Lisbon Strategy” of the European Commission targets an employment rate of 50% for individuals that are between 55-64 years of age in order to overcome these challenges on the labor markets. A necessary condition seems to be that older workers are in a good health so that they are actually able to keep working up to a high age. The question is if work itself might shape health and retirement decisions.
The paper in hand will look at the relationship of working conditions and health, then, the extent to which both of these variables play a role in the decision to retire. Furthermore, there will be light shed on activity after retirement, considering how retired people engage socially, in their community. These relationships will be analyzed using ordinal probit models with several specifications, such as one including a lag of the respective dependent variable. The analysis will be kept broad using several different theories and based on these also a wide range of variables will be analyzed.
Adverse working conditions, as described by the Effort-Reward Imbalance Theory, the Job Demands-Control-Support Theory and the Job Demands-Resource Theory are found to deteriorate health outcomes, life quality as well as social activeness and bring forward the decision to retire or at least the wish to do so. The retirement variables are both influenced by health and work independently. Apart from these theories, several single indicators play a large role, such as whether a job allows the learning of new skills.
Therefore, the improvement of working conditions should be one part of a strategy to solve the problems related to demographic change, which should not be forgotten by decision makers. Better working conditions that keep older people motivated to work seem to be a necessary to mitigate the adverse effects of demographic change.



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  • Zehnpfennig, Christoph ULiège Université de Liège > Master sc. éco., or. gén., à fin.


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