Economic and Non-Economic Activities of Polish Retirees

Tuesday, 12 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal BIG 1 (Main Building)
Distributed Paper
Danuta ZYCZYNSKA-CIOLEK, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland
As far as the average life span is concerned, Poles are catching up quickly with Western Europe. Thus, the number of older people is growing, and they have more years ahead. The public debate present in the Polish media mostly addresses economic aspects of these processes. Growing burdens for the state budget are discussed. For reasons of state finance, a reform was implemented in 2013 raising the retirement age. On the other hand, the issue of necessary changes in social policy – to keep up with the changing demographical situation – remains in the background, as a subject with far less exposure. Long-term national-level thinking about this matter is only just starting. One of its manifestations is the Governmental Program for the Social Activity of the Elderly for years 2014–2020, adopted in 2014.

A sound diagnosis of the current situation is a precondition for efficient action, and this paper is an attempt to contribute to such a diagnosis. It concentrates on selected kinds of activities of Polish retirees, especially on their (1) continued professional activity; (2) unpaid work for the benefit of other people and organizations; (3) social and political activity. The paper is based on data from the sixth wave of the Polish Panel Survey POLPAN, conducted in 2013. The analyses suggest that (1) slightly fewer than 20% of the investigated retirees were willing to continue their professional activity while being  retired, out of whom fewer than a half were successful; (2) unpaid work by the retirees mostly represented their involvement on behalf of their families, rather than institutions or organizations; (3) even though the retirees voted in elections more often than those who lived off their work, and claimed a higher degree of interest in politics, their direct involvement in public affairs was relatively low.