Title: Health, Wellbeing and Extended Working Life (IWH Project 2260)
Category: Changing Nature of Work and Work Environment
Subcategory: Changing Nature of Work and Work Environment
In Europe and Canada, policymakers are facing particular challenges related to rising life expectancy, an aging workforce and the consequent increase in the prevalence of chronic illness and disability. But these increases in life expectancy are not experienced. Less skilled workers, for example, have a shorter life expectancy, earlier onset of chronic illness and disability, are more likely to suffer multi-morbidities as they get older and enjoy fewer years of life after retirement. Policymakers in Europe and Canada therefore face a dual challenge of extending health, quality of life and wellbeing into old age for all groups, whilst finding more effective and equitable ways of ensuring that all older people are fairly treated in strategies and policies to extend working life. This project will conduct transnational research that advances understanding of the differential impacts of health inequalities on the opportunity to work later in life and of strategies and policies for extending working life that take these health inequalities into consideration.
•To examine how the pattern of morbidity and co-morbidity with different physical and mental health conditions, and caring responsibilities, vary over working life by socioeconomic status and gender in different country contexts.
•To determine what the employment consequences of these changing patterns of morbidity, co-morbidity, and caring responsibilities at older ages are.
•To find policy approaches that have been taken in the study countries to extend the working lives of people with chronic illness.
•To consider the implications of the impact of health inequalities revealed in this research for future trends and the development of policies to extend working lives fairly.
This project brings together a coherent group of study countries – UK, Canada, Sweden and Denmark – which are addressing similar policy problems, but have been experimenting with a variety of strategies to tackle the problems. We will take an innovative approach that integrates comparative quantitative analysis of population datasets in each country with the knowledge generated through policy analysis and systematic reviews of qualitative and quantitative intervention studies. Through this research, there is scope for international policy learning on how best to extend the working lives of older people in ways that are effective and equitable.
Cameron Mustard, Emile Tompa