Book

Reforming Early Retirement in Europe, Japan and the USA

Bernhard Ebbinghaus

Published in print July 2006 | ISBN: 9780199286119
Published online September 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191604089 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199286116.001.0001
Reforming Early Retirement in Europe, Japan and the USA

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Since the 1970s, early exit from work has become a major challenge in modern welfare states. Governments, employers, and unions alike once thought of early retirement as a peaceful solution to the economic problems of mass unemployment and industrial restructuring. Today, governments and international organizations advocate the postponement of retirement and an increase in activity among older workers. Comparing eight European countries, the USA, and Japan, this book demonstrates significant cross-national differences in early retirement across countries and over time. The study evaluates the impact of major variations in welfare regimes, production systems, and labor relations. It stresses the importance of the ‘pull factor’ of extensive welfare state provisions, particularly in Continental Europe; the ‘push factor’ of labor shedding strategies by firms, particularly in Anglo-American market economies; and the role of employers and worker representatives in negotiating retirement policies, particularly in coordinated market economies. Over the last three decades, early retirement has become a popular social policy and employment practice in the workplace, adding to the fiscal crises and employment problems of today’s welfare states. Attempts to reverse early retirement policies have led to major reform debates. Unilateral government policies to cut back on social benefits have not had the expected employment results due to resistance from employers, workers, and their organizations. Successful reforms require the cooperation of both sides. This study provides comprehensive empirical analyses and a balanced approach to both the pull and the push factors needed to understand the development of early retirement regimes.

Keywords: early retirement; employment regimes; institutional change; industrial relations; production systems; public policy; social partnership; employers; trade unions; welfare regimes

Book.  352 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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Table of Contents

<b>Introduction: The Paradox of Early Exit from Work</b> in Reforming Early Retirement in Europe, Japan and the USA

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<b>Ever Earlier Retirement: Comparing Employment Trajectories</b> in Reforming Early Retirement in Europe, Japan and the USA

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<b>The Protection‐Pull Factors: Multiple Pathways to Early Exit</b> in Reforming Early Retirement in Europe, Japan and the USA

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<b>The Production‐Push Factors: The Political Economy of Labor Shedding</b> in Reforming Early Retirement in Europe, Japan and the USA

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<b>Conclusion: From Path Dependence to Path Departure?</b> in Reforming Early Retirement in Europe, Japan and the USA

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