By the same authors

Working Beyond State Pension Age: Does Work History Matter?

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ConferenceUnderstanding Societies / British Household Panel Survey Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Conference date(s)30/06/111/07/11

Publication details

DateUnpublished - 2011
Original languageEnglish


Work history is likely to influence a decision to work beyond state pension age (SPA), since income in old age is influenced by years worked, level of earnings, occupation and timing of career. Thus, you would expect those with broken work histories to be more likely to work beyond SPA with the view to supplement their income, and build up greater pension provision for the future. However, there is evidence that having a low income does not always lead to high propensity to work beyond SPA: Those with the lowest financial resources are less likely to work longer, even controlling for other factors. This may be a reflection of careers in lower-skilled positions, with fewer labour market opportunities in old age. Thus, it may be that work life histories interact with income levels to influence extending working life.

This paper attempts to examine quantitatively how work history influences the likelihood of working beyond SPA. It undertakes secondary longitudinal data analysis using retrospective work history data for the first 14 waves of the British Household Panel Survey to summarise work histories, including labour market attachment. Logistic regression is used to understand the impact of work histories on working beyond SPA, holding income and other factors constant.

It finds that high personal income reduces the odds of working longer, even after controlling for other factors, but that work history is important even after income (and other factors) have been accounted for. Moreover, whilst lengthy years in employment increase the likelihood of working longer, periods of inactivity reduce the likelihood. This indicates that those with broken work histories, and seemingly in the most financial need, are less likely to undertake work beyond SPA, perhaps due to reduced negotiating power in the labour market.


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