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Past and future development as well as possibilities for influencing the process of retirement are discussed, in particular effects on the labour market (supply and demand, behaviour of workers and firms, concerning human resource management and occupational pensions), financing of social security and income of workers. Decisions concerning earlier or postponed, full or partial retirement are the main topic stressing the central role of firms' decisions depending e.g. on their view of the productivity of the elderly. Reports on Scandinavian countries (Sweden, Denmark, Finland) in particular on their approach for partial retirement are included as well as papers discussing possibilities to stop the trend of early exit from the labour force and how to give incentives for a longer working life (e.g. by changes in social security). These topics are discussed in the view of structural changes in demography, economy and society, using - among other - the US and West Germany as examples. The papers point out the necessity to look at retirement as a process (in a life cycle perspective, requiring longitudinal data for empirical research) and in a perspective integrating the different aspects involved.




Retirement at the Cross-Roads

— Tasks and Problems Under Changing Economic and Demographic Conditions. Some Introductory Remarks —
In the light of current labour market conditions and social security financing earlier or later retirement, full or gradual retirement are topics of political debate in most of the developed western countries. However, present problems and future objectives are often in conflict and this is a source of difficulty for political decision making. Experiences and expectations for the future often differ widely.
W. Schmähl


The Process of Retirement in Germany: Trends, Public Discussion and Options for its Redefinition

The transition from employment to retirement has changed significantly in the Federal Republic of Germany since the early 1970’s. This is valid not only with respect to retirement age, which, for an increasing number of the employed1) now lies far below the once “standard” retirement age of 65, but also with respect to the types of transition. Exit from gainful employment is in many cases no longer equivalent to receiving a pension from the statutory pension system. Not only can an old-age pension be received beginning at age 60, but an age-free general disability pension allows those with health problems to draw pension money even prior to this retirement age. In addition, we notice growing importance of transition routes with “interim periods” between exit from employment and the start of retirement benefits. That is, we see unemployment among older workers with little or no prospect of ever returning to work as well as pre-retirement labor agreements for workers of numerous branches, based on the Pre-retirement Act of May, 1984.2) In contrast to other countries, especially to the USA, private (occupational) pensions do not play a very important role in Germany. Althoug almost 50% of workers in the private sector are covered by private schemes, these programs are insufficient to serve as the primary source of income.3) By themselves, they are not an important route into retirement.4)
K. Jacobs, W. Schmähl


Early Retirement in Sweden

In this paper we report and to some extent discuss how the Swedish social security system has been organized with respect to early retirements. We look in particular at the so called partial (or part-time) pension which was introduced in 1976. By this pension individuals in the ages 60 to 64 years are compensated for their income loss due to early retirement, provided that they do not leave the labor market.
A. Kruse, L. Söderström

The Process of Retirement in Denmark: Trends, Public Discussion and Institutional Framework

Acting in conformity with an implicit contract between the generations — as does a pay-as-you-go financed pension arrangement — depends on the credibility and the long-run political viability of the scheme in question. Thus, the implied taxation must be politically feasible. Future scheduled taxes should be within the limits of practical acceptability to the social security tax-paying population. Because the social security system is basically an unfunded pension programme its financial integrity would be endangered unless it commands strong taxpayer support. Excessively high social security taxes — levied in one form or another — could conceivably jeopardize the whole system. The social security system, must be constructed in such a way that it can function with whatever age-structure of the population which may emerge or can seriously be expected to emerge, and also so that it retains its capacity to function over the longer run. New legislative regulations have to be considered from this perspective.
J. H. Petersen

The Flexible Pensionable Age in Finland

We have in Finland two parallel pension schemes, the National Pension Scheme and the Employment Pension Scheme.
H. Sundberg


American Patterns of Work and Retirement

By most standards retirement policy in the United States has been a success. The Social Security system (Old-Age, Survivors, Disability, and Health Insurance, or OASDHI) provides a retirement pension and health benefits to most older workers and their families. The Supplemental Security Income Program guarantees a minimum income floor for those aged 65 and over regardless of past work histories. Federal tax policy encourages the creation of employer retirement pensions. The growth in both coverage and the size of benefits of this network of social insurance, social welfare, and employer pensions is in large part responsible for the dramatic increase in the well-being of older Americans.
R. V. Burkhauser, J. F. Quinn

The Retirement Process in the United States: Mobility Among Full-Time Work, Partial Retirement, and Full Retirement

The older American male’s long-term trend toward withdrawal from the labor force has continued into the 1980’s, though at a decelerating rate. At all ages over 57, male labor force participation during a year dropped by 3–4 percentage points from 1977 to 1982; whereas in the preceding 5 years it had dropped by 7–12 percentage points. While 87 percent of 55–57 year olds still worked sometime during 1982, the dropoff with advancing age was steep; only 60 percent of 62–64 year olds and 25 percent of 68–73 year olds worked at all in that year. The decline in participation from 1977 to 1982 by men over 65 came entirely at the expense of part-time work; the small fractions working substantially full-time remained stable. On the other hand, men aged 62–64 moved out of both full-time and part-time work; while men under age 62 shifted into part-time out of full-time work.2)
C. Reimers, M. Honig


Early Retirement: The Problems of “Instrument Substitution” and “Cost Shifting” and Their Implications for Restructuring the Process of Retirement

The deterioration of the labour market in all OECD countries since the oil price shock of 1973 has brought with it a massive increase in early retirement. This is a result not only of discouraged older job seekers leaving the labour market for the more socially acceptable “alternative role” of early retiree, or, of persons eligible for disability benefits finding themselves forced by lack of work to exercise that option, but also of conscious policies by governments, backed by employers and trade unions (Casey and Bruche (1983), Casey (1984a), ISSA (1985)).
B. Casey


Seniority-Based Wage System and Postponed Retirement

Demographic ageing is often measured by age dependency ratios i.e. the number of individuals 60 years or more old in relation to those individuals between 20 and 60 years old. An official projection for the Federal Republic of Germany predicts that the age dependency ratio will increase from 38.5 % in 1985 to 81.2 % in 2030. This challanges the existing retirement system. Assuming for instance a pay-as-you-go method of financing an earnings-related pension system, a doubling of the retirees ratio would also require a doubling of the contribution rate (leaving the benefit level unaltered). For the Federal Republic of Germany this would mean an increase of the contribution rate from 18.5 % to 37 %, shared in equal parts by employers and employees. Schmähl (1987) has discussed as measures to avoid this an increase of the labour-force participation rate and the prolongation of the employment phase. An increase of the labour-force participation rate would temporarily lower the pension burden, but also raise it later, while “in times of high employment — and only then it is a realistic option — an average one-year prolongation of the employment phase would reduce, for example, in the Federal Republic of Germany, the otherwise necessary contribution rate by 3 percentage points — through an increase in the number of contributors and a decrease in the number of pensioneers” (Schmähl (1987), p. 28).
L. Bellmann

Employment of Older Persons from a Management Point of View

Both in the literature and in management practice it is agreed that a person’s age in years is only to a very limited extent a suitable criterion for the definition of what constitutes an older employee (OE). The reason for this is that the age at which a person should start to be considered “older” depends not only on the age of the observer but also on the age-expectations prevailing in given vocational groups (e.g. airline stewardesses, professional sportsmen).
W. H. Staehle


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