Ulrike Waginger

University of Vienna, Working group for Social Gerontology, Life Course and Social Policy Research, Institute of Sociology

Vienna, Austria

Ulrike Waginger


Early Retirement and Well-being in Europe: A secondary analysis based on SHARE and ELSA


Ageing actively was frequently suggested to support health and well-being of older people.Very high early retirement rates in some European countries, such as Austria, raise the question, how these large number of young old cope with their (forced or chosen) inactivity from productive life healthwise, and whether engagement in voluntary activities, minor productive work or family life helps coping with the new situation. The current study aims to 1) shed light on the relationship between early retirement and wellbeing including physical and mental health, quality of life and life satisfaction and to 2) investigate the actual effect of early retirement on the well-being of the early retired.

The study is based on two large European surveys, namely the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) and the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) and will include 12 European countries and with over 20,000 participants. As well-being after early retirement may be influenced by a number of factors, it will be taken into account, whether early retirement was chosen or forced, whether poor health was the reason for early retirement and whether participants engaged in voluntary, charity or minor productive activities in their retirement. Additionally, key socio-economic influences of the well-being of early retirees, such as family structure, income, wealth, social class, occupational level and education, as well as gender and age will be taken into account. Results will then be compared by country. Finally, a policy review of the countries included will assess differences in policy strategies and will discuss their impact on national early retirement rates.

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