Extended working lives: feasible and desirable for all?

David Lain, Mariska van der Horst, Sarah Vickerstaff

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademic

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There is now a broad political consensus in many OECD countries that people will have to work longer on average than in the past, and governments are raising state pension ages. This issue is often presented in terms of the individual’s responsibility to work longer, but the reality is more complicated and raises serious ethical questions. Is it the responsibility of everyone to continue working into older age, when some individuals may not want or feel able to work because of health conditions that were perhaps exacerbated by a lifetime of physically arduous employment? Is it always a successful outcome if individuals remain in employment, or are there circumstances when we should not expect them to work if they feel this is the best option? This chapter addresses these questions through an analysis of the US Health and Retirement Study and the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. This analysis shows that in both countries, significant numbers of individuals aged 65+ remain in work when they have poor health and/or do physically demanding work. Drawing on qualitative research on older UK hospitality workers doing physically demanding work, it is argued that it is not always feasible or desirable to expect people to work longer, something that policy urgently needs to recognize.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCurrent and Emerging Trends in Aging and Work
EditorsSara J. Czaja, Joseph Sharit, Jacquelyn B. James
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9783030241353
ISBN (Print)9783030241346, 9783030241377
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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