The extension of late working life in Germany: trends, inequalities, and the East-West divide
The extension of late working life has been proposed as a potential remedy for the challenges of aging societies. For Germany, surprisingly little is known about trends and social inequalities in the length of late working life. We use data from the German Microcensus to estimate working life expectancy from age 55 onward for the 1941‒1955 birth cohorts. We adjust our calculations of working life expectancy for working hours and present results for western and eastern Germany by gender, education, and occupation. While working life expectancy has increased across cohorts, we find strong regional and socioeconomic disparities. Decomposition analyses show that among males, socioeconomic differences are predominantly driven by variation in employment rates; among women, variation in both employment rates and working hours are highly relevant. Older eastern German women have longer working lives than older western German women, which is likely attributable to the German Democratic Republic legacy of high female employment.