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Rethinking retirement; from participation towards allocation

CPB Special Publication 80, 23 April 2009

This study argues that Dutch policy regarding the labour market for elderly is at a crossroads. Previous reforms in the Netherlands have encouraged labour supply and are expected to boost labour-market participation of individuals aged 55 to 64 to 60% in 2020.

Further stimulus of supply is debatable due to perverse distributive implications. The increase in participation reveals inefficiencies in the demand side of the market. Indeed, the Dutch labour market for elderly is characterised by long unemployment duration, long job tenures, low mobility and little investment in human capital.

The inefficiencies were previously hidden by massive early retirement, but will become more pressing as the workforce ages and participation rates increase. This imposes a new challenge for Dutch policy, a challenge that has become more urgent due to the current financial crisis that is expected to cause a substantial rise in unemployment. The study offers up-to-date insight in the consequences of policy reforms for the labour market.

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