Research Group

Labor Demography

At a Glance Projects Publications Team

Research Area

Working-Life Trajectories in Perspective: Patterns and Determinants

A major policy goal for aging populations is to increase the length of working life. This is important, but surprisingly little research has been done about the factors that shape the length of working life, how it has developed in recent years, and how it differs by country.

Project research fills this gap. Working-life expectancy – understood as lifetime spent working – is one of our key indicators, and we examine its trends and determinants across high-income countries. We take a life-course perspective, looking at how the expansion of education has influenced entry into the labor force and how changing fertility patterns, increasing opportunities to take parental leave, fluctuating economic uncertainty, and other sources of voluntary and involuntary inactivity during the prime working ages influence labor-force trajectories and working-life expectancy.

Our analyses are based on cross-sectional and longitudinal survey datasets as well as register-based data that together cover a large number of countries, birth cohorts, and time periods. We look at working-life expectancy from both period and cohort perspectives. To gain a better understanding of complex working trajectories, we develop and apply innovative multistate approaches building on Markov Chain methods, thus providing in-depth analyses of social trajectories. We also provide software that implements our methods, making them readily available to others.

Research Keywords:

Aging, Mortality and Longevity, Economics, Employment, Retirement, Life Course, Statistics and Mathematics

Projects of this Research Area

Working-Life Expectancy at Older Age Project details
Innovations in Multistate Modeling Project details
The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.