Early-retirement reform: Can it and will it work?

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review


Early retirement from the labour force has become standard practice for most employees in the industrialised world. However, as a result of the rising costs of early-retirement schemes, curbing the outflow of older workers from the labour force has become a central government policy objective. Early-retirement reforms under which benefits are financed on a more actuarially neutral basis are currently being implemented in The Netherlands. At present it is not clear how older workers will react to these policy reforms. In this article we examine the extent to which (Dutch) older workers are inclined to change their retirement intentions in response to new early-retirement arrangements. On the basis of a labour market and a population survey we examine retirement intentions under alternative early-retirement policies. The overall conclusion is that the retirement reform may lead to a substantial delay of the retirement date, but that in practice factors other than financial incentives are powerfully at work. This is also reflected in the long-run early-retirement trend. This trend presents demographers and economists with a puzzle, because while a break can be identified in the time series, it set in before the early-retirement reforms were put into practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-231
Number of pages23
JournalAgeing and Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Ageing
  • Early retirement
  • Labour market
  • Older workers


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