Flexibility forms in the late employment career and transition into retirement – a cross-national comparison of the development of social inequality (flexCAREER II)

The project focuses on the question how the increased market uncertainty in an era of globalization impacts late employment careers, the transition to retirement and pension incomes. It studies these processes within ten OECD-type countries by analyzing individual level longitudinal data. The countries under study are: Germany (East and West), Great Britain, the USA, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Hungary, and Estonia.
More specifically, the project tackles the following questions: Is there a general trend towards more unstable and prolonged careers? Do older people increasingly have to pay the price for labor market flexibilization, for example by a substantial decrease of pension incomes or even by old age poverty? Another set of research questions focuses on the issue of social inequalities. How are labor market risk distributed among the elderly? Do uncertainty, inequality and instability increase for all older individuals or do traditional inequality patterns – based on educational resources and occupational class – persist or are even reinforced? And finally we ask how national institutions filter labor market transformations. Countries differ significantly with respect to the characteristics of their occupational system, the strength of their labor market regulations, the nature of their employment sustaining policies, their pension systems and the level of decommodification offered by the national welfare system. How do these institutional packages affect older people’s employment trajectories and retirement? Is there a convergence in life-course patterns, or do path-dependencies dominate?

The flexCAREER project is located both at the University of Göttingen and the University of Bamberg.