Older Men’s Labor Force Participation in Belgium
The Belgian labor market has undergone profound changes, particularly for those over 50. There has been a steady increase in labor force participation for women since the early 1980s, but a decline for males in the same period, followed by a period of relative stability at low levels—both from a historical and from a cross-country perpective—and then a steady upward trend starting in the early to mid-1990. The paper studies the labor market participation of older workers in Belgium over the last three decades. It outlines the changes to the institutional framework of relevance for labor market participation and employment. Drawing on data from the European Union Labour Force Survey (LFS) over the period 1983 to 2013, we provide evidence of the trends in participation in (early-) retirement routes. We also explore how the jobs occupied by older workers have changed over time, both in terms of their “quality” and the “quantity” of work involved. Part-time work is found to become more common, though with different attributes for men and women.
The authors acknowledge financial support from the Belspo project EMPOV (TA/00/45).