This is the eighth phase of a project on social security and retirement that compares the experiences of a dozen developed countries. The project was launched in the mid-1990s following decades of declining labor force participation rates of older men. The first several phases document that social security program provisions can create powerful incentives for retirement that are strongly correlated with the labor force behavior of older workers. Subsequent project phases have explored disability program provisions and their effects on retirement as well as potential obstacles to promoting work at older ages, including whether there is a link between older employment and youth unemployment and whether older individuals are healthy enough to work longer. Since the project began, the decline in men’s labor force participation has ended and been replaced by sharply rising participation rates. Older women’s participation has been rising as well. In this volume, we explore this phenomenon of working longer. We document trends in participation and employment and consider factors that may explain these changes. We conclude that social security reforms as well as other factors such as the movement of women into the labor force have likely played an important role.
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