Why are People Working Longer in the Netherlands?
Labor force participation at older ages has been rising in the Netherlands since the mid-nineteen-nineties. Reforms of the social security and pension systems have often been put forward as main explanations for this rise. However, participation rates above the normal retirement age of 65 have almost tripled for men and quadrupled for women despite the fact that at those ages reforms are unlikely to have had much impact. This suggests other factors may have played an important role in this rise as well. In addition to the effects of reforms in social security and pension systems, this chapter examines the importance for men’s labor force participation at older ages of improved health, increased levels of education, and differences in skills across cohorts, as the older cohorts moved into retirement, such that workers’ characteristics better matched labor demand. These changes on the labor supply side are likely to have contributed to the success of the reforms since the mid-nineteen-nineties and to have had a large independent impact on men’s labor force participation at older ages.
The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.