There is little disagreement among policy experts and political decision makers that one of the major challenges facing contemporary welfare states is to raise the average age of retirement. However, not very much is known about what factors actually determine early retirement. As our knowledge about causes and effects of early exit/retirement is rudimentary, the aim of this project is to shed light on the following questions: What actually happens in the workplaces and on the labour market in connection with workers' retirement? What are the individual motives of early retirement? How do public and private pensions and retirement schemes affect the decision to retire? How do early retired people experience their retirement? Is there - realistically speaking - any room for more flexible retirement, and what would be the (net) effect of such arrangements? And last, but not least: Is there any room for changes that are "politically feasible", or do voters' reactions to the 1998 reform of the early retirement allowance indicate that any such course is politically suicidal? In other words, the project aims at improving our empirical and theoretical knowledge about individual and structural factors contributing to early retirement, in particular about individual motives behind early retirement and about the functioning of the labour market vis-à-vis older workers. This includes two types of analyses:

- A register-based analysis of variations in early retirement

- A quantitative survey of motives of early retirement (supplemented by 25 qualitative interviews)

Effective start/end date01/04/200531/03/2010
ID: 214518715