In the social sciences there is an ongoing debate about the primacy of structure or agency in shaping individual behaviors. This Special Issue presents a comprehensive set of papers on structure and agency in the area of later working lives and retirement, specifically focusing on situations where agency is constrained. The papers (a) study a diverse set of labor market situations in which individual agency is constrained, (b) focus on individual- and country-level predictors of constrained agency, and (c) provide insights regarding consequences of constrained agency in different areas of life. A broad range of country contexts are covered in the articles and rich—often longitudinal—data sources are used to advance our understanding of agency in later working lives. The current Introduction to the Special Issue elaborates on the theoretical background linking the different papers, briefly describes the different papers, and discusses directions for future research to follow from the full set of papers.
- later working lives