Conference Paper BHPS-2009 Conference: the 2009 British Household Panel Survey Research Conference, 9-11 July 2009, Colchester, UK
Social policy and temporal patterns of retirement. Evidence from Germany and Britain
Since the 1970s retirement has become increasingly early and less standardized. While much research has addressed the early retirement trend, there is little understanding of changing retirement patterns. Yet, changing retirement patterns are an important potential driver of economic inequality among retirees. This article proposes destandardization and differentiation as two concepts to systematically analyze temporal retirement patterns. Germany and Britain are compared to assess how social policies interact to shape individual retirement patterns and economic inequality. The study uses sequence analysis and relative distribution methods to provide an innovative and dynamic perspective on retirement. Results from longitudinal data show that retirement destandardization and differentiation are driven by employment maintenance policies on the labor market, high institutional complexity in pensions, and a lack of institutionalized early retirement routes. De-standardization and differentiation of retirement, however, are not associated with increasing economic inequality among retirees.