Conceptualizing and measuring retirement in historical micro-level data

Lilla salen Session 4: The long road to the welfare state… and beyond: retirement, old-age provision and eldercare in the past and present organized by Jaco Zuijderduijn and Tobias Karlsson


Tobias Karlsson


Although universal pension systems may be a thing of the past century, retirement behaviour has a longer history. In this paper, we discuss various ways to conceptualize and measure retirement using historical micro-level data. We consider and compare different definitions of retirement, distinctively for men and women, and observe changes over time. The paper forms a point of departure for a new project, which seeks to systematically investigate retirement behaviour in Sweden from the late nineteenth century to 1950s, a period when increasing numbers of ageing men left the labour market, even though pension benefits were too low to sustain independent living.


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