Changes across Cohorts in Work-Family Histories and Extended Working Lives: Evidence from the United Kingdom.

Laurie Corna, King's College London
Giorgio Di Gessa, King's College
Karen Glaser, King's College London
Peggy McDonough, University of Toronto
Loretta Platts, Stress Research Institute Stocholm
Debora Price, University of Manchester
Amanda Sacker, University College London
Rachel Stuchbury, Celsius, UCL
Diana Worts, University of Toronto

Introduction: Late life labour force participation is influenced by contemporaneous factors such as health and economic status, but also by earlier work and family experiences.

Aim: We examined changes in the relationship between typologies of work and family histories and working up to and beyond State Pension age (SPa) across three 10-year UK birth cohorts.

Data and Methods: Employing data from the 1988/89 British Retirement Survey (RS), the 1998 British Household Panel Study (BHPS), and the 2008 English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) we examined each cohort’s circumstances between the ages of 60 – 69 for men and 55 – 64 for women (i.e. respondents aged 55-69 born 1919-1933 in the RS, 1929-1943 in the BHPS, and 1939-1953 in ELSA). We considered current labour market status, socio-economic conditions, health, as well as retrospective labour market and family histories. The associations between labour market experiences and participation in paid work up to and beyond State Pension age (SPa) were analysed using logistic and multinomial regression separately for men and women.

Results: Respondents (and women in particular) who had a strong attachment to the labour market throughout their lives were more likely to be in paid work in later life compared to those with prior weak attachment. These relationships have strengthened across cohorts: recent cohorts of respondents were more likely to have worked throughout their lives, and to remain in the labour market at older ages.

Presented in Session 49: Work and Family Trajectories over the Lifecourse