Helping the Poorest Help Themselves? Encouraging Employment Past 65 in England and the USA

TitleHelping the Poorest Help Themselves? Encouraging Employment Past 65 in England and the USA
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsLain, D
JournalJournal of Social Policy
KeywordsCross-National, Demographics, Employment and Labor Force, Public Policy, Retirement Planning and Satisfaction

In the context of population ageing and low retirement incomes, the UK government is encouraging delayed retirement. However, the OECD has argued that UK means-tested benefits disincentivise employment for the poorest, and Vickerstaff (2006b) has suggested managers have typically controlled opportunities to work beyond 65. In the US, contrastingly, benefits are meagre and difficult to access, and age discrimination legislation protects individuals from forced retirement. Would a US 'self-reliance' policy approach increase employment amongst the poorest over 65s in the UK and enhance or diminish their financial position? The evidence suggests that extending UK age discrimination legislation and restricting benefits would increase overall employment past 65, although not necessarily to US levels. Analysis of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing and the US Health and Retirement Study finds the poorest over 65s were more likely to work in the USA than in England in 2002. However, within the USA, employment amongst the poorest was still low, especially compared with wealthier groups; logistic regression analysis primarily attributes this to lower levels of health and education. A US policy approach would therefore most likely damage the financial position of the poorest in the UK, as increased employment would not sufficiently compensate for lost benefits

Endnote Keywords

Public policy/Older people/Low income groups/Employment/Retirement benefits/Age discrimination/ELSA_

Endnote ID


Citation Key7589