Retirement Age during the 2008 Economic Crisis

Monday, 11 July 2016: 09:18
Location: Hörsaal BIG 1 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Kathrin KOMP, Department of Social Research/Social Policy , University of Helsinki, Finland
The 2008 economic crisis impacted retirement age in Europe. The crises led to fundamental social changes, such as increased unemployment rates, foreclosing companies, the incorporation of new austerity measures in social policies, and the reframing of individuals’ identities. These changes set a new framework for retirement in Europe. Before the crisis, delaying retirement was a policy priority. Because of the crisis, however, the chances for employment in old age decreased, and policymakers need to weigh the importance of old age employment against the one of youth employment. As a result, the opportunities and interests in delayed retirement change. This presentation demonstrates how retirement age in Europe changed since the onset of the economic crisis. Also, it outlines changes in social inequalities in retirement age. The analyses are random-effects multilevel models. These models can capture universal and country-specific effects. Data stem from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe. A comparison of these data from 2006 and 2012 highlight changes since the onset of the crisis. Findings reveal an increase of the effective retirement age, which probably is due to pension reforms taking effect. Findings also reveal changes in social inequalities in retirement age, which probably stem from a combination of pension reforms and the economic crisis. These findings indicate that we need to revisit theories about retirement that we developed before the onset of the 2008 crisis. Also, retirement policies might have to be reconsidered, because the 2008 crisis gave them unintended side-effects.